Hockey Talks was created as a month-long initiative to increase dialogue and awareness about mental health and effective treatment. In its inaugural year, seven Canadian teams dedicated a game night to Hockey Talks during the month of February.
This year, Hockey Talks moves to January and the Oilers will host their second annual in-game event on January 21, 2014. Each winter, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation raises money through ‘Puck Surprise’, in which limited-edition, hand-signed pucks, accompanied by a player card, are sold on the concourse for $20. If a lucky fan receives one of 25 gold-signed pucks they also win a team-signed stick.
This in-game initiative will seek to encourage a national conversation about mental health and the funds raised will benefit the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation.
One in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in their lifetime; it indirectly affects many Canadians at some point through a family member, friend or colleague. Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.
Approximately 70 per cent of mental health problems and illnesses have their onset during childhood or adolescence. Identifying the signs early and getting connected to tools and support is the most important way to prevent problems from becoming worse. Mental health problems and illnesses can be treated effectively.
The Oilers Hockey Talks event is part of a collective effort, with all of the Canadian NHL clubs dedicating one of their game nights in January to bringing awareness to this topic in an attempt to alleviate misconceptions and stigma that have been associated with mental illness.
Fans are encouraged to join the conversation via social media with the hashtag #hockeytalks.
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