Mental Health in Sport – Bell Let’s Talk Day 2021

Thursday marks the 11th year of the Annual ‘Bell Let’s Talk Day’ tradition in Canada.

An annual occurrence that was created and initiated to bring light to the issues that we as humanity fight on an everyday basis.

The things you may see in somebody are more than likely not the only things they are dealing with. That is the intent behind Bell Let’s Talk, a genius initiative that encourages people to speak out on the way they are feeling inside.

Now more than ever, the issues and stigma surrounding mental health are as important as they have ever been. During the pandemic and over the last calendar year, we have been faced with many traumatizing obstacles in the public view, as well as many have fallen on troubled times in their personal growth.

Every retweet including #BellLetsTalk, watching a video or making a TikTok. There are multiple different ways that people can reach out and offer their support towards this movement. With one of these simple actions, Bell will be donating 5 cents towards various mental health initiates around the country.

Bell Let’s Talk is more than just a way of raising money, that is really the least of its intent. It really is a conversation that anyone and everyone is able to join in to, to share the everyday  struggles they face in their routine lives.

As an aspiring writer in sport, I have encountered multiple occasions where athletes, whether famous or in my local circle have expressed their hardships to fans, teammates and anyone who will listen to them.

As athletes, it is very easy to bottle things up, because you are viewed as a person with a gift, as well as someone who has plenty to live for and not much to be down about.

Yet, in many ways, it can be the opposite for athletes, especially those of a large stature in the World view.

As many people around this province are aware, form Canuck Rick Rypien was a gritty and tenacious fighter for the hometown Canucks for years. He served to protect his top guys such as the Sedin twins, Alex Burrows and many, many more.

He took pride in that, being the man to defend his brothers and inflict fear into those who lined up across from them on a nightly basis.

On August 15th, 2011, Rick Rypien took his own life at the ripe age of 27 years old.

Rick was always described as a naturally uplifting friend and teammate. He was close with he jokesters of the team like Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa. His close friend and fellow Canuck Jason Jaffrey expressed his surprise by Rypien’s death, saying he looked as though he had overcome his fight, and had been the happiest he had ever seen him.

This goes a very long way in showing people how good athletes, and mostly just men in general are at masking their emotions and feelings. In the case and life of Rick Rypien, it felt like he may have just not had anybody to talk to, in the right moments, at the right time.

Bell Lets Talk has brought these exact issues to the forefront. It has provided a platform for people of all ages and all walks of life to engage in a conversation to better themselves and release their minds of the everyday battles it gets put through.

We aren’t where we need to be as a society and quite frankly we are not close, but every year that we remind ourselves to have these talks and to get involved, the closer we are getting.

Former Toronto Raptor DeMar DeRozan spoke about his own demons, and what he endures as a rich and famous NBA superstar.

DeRozan sent this tweet in 2018 during a turbulent time in his life. Facing scrutiny over trade rumours and lack of success with the Raptors, DeRozan went public about his struggles with mental health issues.

He said in an interview with ESPN that, “People say, ‘What are you depressed about? You can buy anything you want.” Money can’t buy happiness. Wealth doesn’t always play much of a factor in someone’s mental health. DeRozan said, “I wish everyone in the world was rich so they would realize money isn’t everything.”

Strong words from a professional athlete with his kind of name and success in the NBA. Someone like that is expected to live lavishly and never have any sort of personal issues themselves, they are all expected to be perfect.

As people heard about DeMar’s stories and struggles around the NBA, it became a life raft of sorts for the rest of the players league wide to express how much adversity they feel at times. DeRozan in a way set out a platform for many other players such as Kevin Love and Metta World Peace to come out and begin their own storytelling, and strive towards furthering a movement that was in the closet for far too long.

In the Canucks 5-1 win on Wednesday night, it was only fitting that their stud grinder Tyler Motte was able to capitalize on two scoring chances infront of the net.

On ‘Hockey Talks’ night in Van City, their was an extra special jump in the skates of number 64. Motte captured his fourth and fifth goals on the young season, and the lead amount Canucks goal scorers.

Why was this so fitting? Motte made headlines last year for coming out about his own mental health, and used his platform to express to people around the Hockey World how important it was for him to talk to somebody about it for the first time.

“You never know what someone is going through but for those that are going through it you’re never alone. And for those that aren’t, just be there.” Motte expressed proudly about how far he has come and how happy he is about where these issues are going.

The 11th Annual Bell Let’s Talk Day is on Thursday, so make sure you are making your presence felt on all the social media’s, and contributing towards a brighter and better tomorrow for you, your friends and others.

Evan Power, Evolution 107.9

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *