J and J’s Gibberish: Hockey Talk and Mental Health Movember

One mother's weekly journey in raising her special needs children. 

With all the celebrity shaming going around (rightfully so I might add!!!) for atrocious predatory and vile male behaviour, I thought I would use this week’s J and J Gibberish to launch a series about celebrities using their voices for a good cause: raising awareness of mental health.

This week, with hockey season well underway, I will focus on a couple of hockey initiatives.  Let’s be honest and say that with all the testosterone and macho crap in sports, talking about mental health in that line of work would be particularly difficult.

One of our guys, the incredible former Senator Daniel Alfredsson, was one of the trailblazers in doing so and now the Ottawa Senators Foundation is heavily involved in promoting wellness and mental health and making a real difference at the ground level in our community.

They have hockey talks about mental health (actually all the hockey franchises have them which is great) and the Foundation organizes multiple fundraisers. In fact, funds from the upcoming February 8, 2018 battle between the Sens and the Predators go to mental health.  Way to go Sens.  This is amazing.

Apparently, Sens Support (as I will call it) starts right when you walk into the hospital with youth mental health issues.  I say apparently, because I need to verify if this is true, but from what I am told, if you go into the hospital right now with mental health concerns and you are a kid, you may have access to Sens-funded programs that will hook you up with services in the community right away.  That certainly didn’t exist a few years ago when Jacob and I began our journey to get mental health care but I am also told it began about three years ago.  This is revolutionary if it is in fact the case and I will investigate. Since 2009, the Sens Foundation has invested over $1.5 million in mental health services in the community.  Again, way to go Sens. 

This has inspired to look into this with a practical guide to mental health services that can actually help in Ottawa and I will investigate real wait times for youth mental health care. Look for that in an upcoming December J and J Jibberish. I wish I had that a few years ago so I will do it now for others.    

And now, I turn to the Sens rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs.  And here I have to say, they are actually united in a cause: raising mental health awareness.  Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) are also huge advocates. To begin with, they funded the production of this video, https://youtu.be/UqCgrJbL-e0, which was made for Mental Health Week in May and they showed a shortened version of it on the Jumbo-tron. Jacob was over the moon to participate in this project. (MLSE are partners with Bell as well.)

Then there is the Leafs head coach, Mike Babcock.  The guy has emerged as a real voice in mental health awareness in sports, and in youth and sports in particular. It is fantastic.

In fact for November, he teamed up with Babsocks (socks with Babcock’s face on them) and Movember to raise awareness of the importance of mental health in Canadian youth sport. The socks are deigned to be a reminder of how important mental health is, especially for athletes.

It is so good to see mental health given attention in tough guy arenas and communities because lowering the stigma there has a domino effect everywhere else. 

And if you are a Sens fan get a few pairs of Babsocks anyway as it is for a good cause and look at it as another way to walk all over the Leafs.