Canucks team up to battle depression

Vancouver Canucks’ Rick Rypien

VANCOUVER — As one of the top teams in the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks have taken their strong play on the ice and converted it to strong play in the community. Recently, the Canucks and the Canucks for Kids Fund (CFKF) partnered with Fraser Health, Provincial Health Services Authority, and the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Foundation to relaunch mindcheck.ca — an online awareness and initiative campaign. Along with the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA), the CFKF donated $50,000 to the program. Mindcheck.ca is a website dedicated to victims and families who suffer from depression in an effort to raise awareness about this terrifying disease.

The idea to get involved with raising awareness for depression came after former Vancouver Canuck and Winnipeg Jets enforcer Rick Rypien took his life this past summer. As a fan favorite, Rypien was loved both on and off the ice by teammates and in the community alike. However, despite all of the love and support, he still succumbed to depression and its consequences. As a result, the Vancouver Canucks, and in particular defenseman Kevin Bieksa – a good friend of Rypien – made it a priority to raise awareness about depression this season.

Mindcheck.ca offers fans of the Canucks and donators to the website the opportunity to read Kevin Bieksa’s personal account, including blogs both on memories of Rick Rypien and depression in general. The site also offers quizzes and information regarding how people with depression, along with their families, can recognize the early symptoms of the disease. One of the most intriguing aspects of the Mindcheck.ca website, is that the CFKF and its partners are creating a campaign called In One Voice. The campaign aims to have contributors to the site upload their pledge to help conquer depression and lessen the stigma associated with the disease. As well, the t-shirt worn by Kevin Bieksa in the PSA for Mindcheck.ca will be available for auction in the coming weeks.

Fraser Health originally launched Mindcheck.ca in the spring of 2010 as part of a pilot project aimed to help Youth and Young Adult Mental Health and Substance Abuse. With the amount of teen suicide rising by the year, more organizations hopped on board to raise awareness, including the aforementioned Provincial Health Service Authority BC Mental Health and Addiction Services, CFKF, NHLPA and RBC Children’s Mental Health Project. The province of British Columbia as a whole has a 10 year plan to address mental health and substance abuse, called Healthy Minds Healthy People. In fact, in the last two years alone, $1.3 Billion was spent in an effort to support services and programs for people battling depression and the substance abuse that comes with it.

For their valiant effort in raising awareness for depression and working to offer support for those affected by the disease, we proudly award the Vancouver Canucks with a well deserved Gold Star and applaud their efforts.

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