Local Ottawa Initiatives aim to tackle Conversation surrounding Mental Health
The stigmatism regarding mental health in sports has been well documented. The past few years have seen prominent athletes speak up on mental health.
This past Monday was World Suicide Prevention Day, with this year’s theme being “Working Together to Prevent Suicide”. Since 2003, World Suicide Prevention is observed September 10th every year to spread awareness and education. Over the past month, a few local initiatives started by athletes have been featured around the Ottawa region. These are just some of the initiatives aimed at reducing the stigmatism surrounding mental health and providing a support system for those needing it.
Walk of Light: Erik Karlsson
Hundreds of local citizens and community leaders and reporters were with superstar NHL defensemen Erik Karlsson this past Sunday night. But Karlsson was in the news for a story much bigger than hockey.
Erik and Melinda Karlsson were at the Kanata Recreation Complex for their charity, “Can’t Dim My Light” which aims to raise money for anti-bullying causes. Later, local organization “Proud to be Me” will be hosting anti-bullying workshops for youth.
Also present for the event was City Councilor, Allan Hubley, who lost his son Jamie in 2011 to suicide. The event raised more than $50 000.
Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Sports
Krista Van Slingerland struggled with mental health during her time as a former student-athlete at University of Ottawa. She has now helped co-found the Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Sports, which aims to provide mental health services to high performing athletes.
The Center is located in the House of Sport at the RA Centre, which is home to various other sports organizations. Van Slingerland hopes to change the conversation surrounding mental health literacy in sports, by providing counselling a strong support system. The website includes various testimonials that includes Olympic athletes.