NHL players join effort to battle depression

Bailey Ayres, Sports Editor

Depression is something everyone can get – including professional athletes.

Rick Rypien, a professional hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL), suffered from depression, and ended up committing suicide in 2011.

His death has since taken the hockey community by storm.

About 6.7 percent of the United States suffers from depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association. In Canada, one in four people suffer from some kind of depression, according to the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.

In 2010, a company in Canada decided to do something about this. Bell, a Canadian communication company, decided to start a program called, “Bell Let’s Talk.”

“Bell Let’s Talk”, is a program that offers help to people with depression by allowing them to have a space to start conversations about their struggles. It is often difficult for people with depression to start the conversation, for many different reasons.

The program’s website (http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/) gives tips on how to start that conversation, and how to have it safely.

Bell Let’s Talk Day on Jan. 25 is a day dedicated to getting the conversation about depression started.

If you have been following any NHL hockey players, or anyone who is in the hockey community you may have seen this hashtag: #BellLetsTalk.

Every time someone tweets it, or posts it elsewhere on social media the “Bell Let’s Talk” program will donate five cents to programs dedicated to helping people overcome depression.

Some of the NHL players have paid tribute to Rick Rypien and others who have lost their lives to depression. They have also left messages as encouragement for others.

“It takes courage to ask for help. #SickNotWeak #BellLetsTalk,” tweets Joel Colborne of the Colorado Avalanche.
Other players like Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers also tweets, “You are strong, you are loved. #SickNotWeak #BellLetsTalk.”

Some NHL players are tweeting advice: “Mental struggles are real. I have suffered from them and without talking to @taytayruness [a friend of his] I would have suffered in silence. #BellLetsTalk,” tweets Daniel Winnik of the Washington Capitols.

At this moment, the program is only based in Canada. But this program should become an international movement to help get the conversation going about depression and helping people, often our own friends and family, to overcome it.  

Now is the time to jump behind this very important movement, and get the conversation started.