Field Hockey Canada > Field Hockey Canada athletes support mental health awareness in Vancouver

As Clara Hughes prepared to bring her Big Ride to create a stigma-free Canada through the lower mainland of British Columbia, athletes from Field Hockey Canada’s men’s and women’s National Programs hopped on board to support the cause this past week.

Teaming up with the Vancouver Whitecaps at B.C. Place during their Amway Canadian Championship Semifinal match versus Toronto F.C. on Wednesday, a handful of Canada’s field hockey players canvassed the concourse before, during, and after the game raising funds for the Clara’s Big Ride Vancouver Community Champion – The Kettle Society – and the Canadian Mental Health Association, B.C. Division. 

“I think it is very important to support mental health because it is a health issue that is often overlooked,” says Men’s National Team veteran David Jameson, who was part of the Field Hockey Canada contingent lending a helping hand.

“A lot of the time it is not apparent to an outside observer that people are suffering because the symptoms are not well known to the public.”

But whether it is well known or not, 1 in 5 Canadians will likely experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives.

“Mental health issues don’t discriminate and can affect anyone,” says Women’s National Team defender Danielle Hennig. “But because of the stigma around mental health issues many people live in fear of isolation rather than seek out the help that they may need.”

“This was a great opportunity to be a voice raising awareness and reducing the stigma around mental health that I was glad to be a part of.”

The Kettle Society supports people living with mental illness and helps them live healthier lives. It is estimated about 3,600 people make use of the society’s 26 services, which include a mental health drop-in, a women’s transition house and more.

“Just like everyone else athletes are faced with many external and internal pressures that can effect mental health,” says Vancouver’s Sara McManus.

“Supporting mental health is so important because it effects such a large number of people.” 

To learn more about mental health and how you can help, visit thekettle.ca and cmha.bc.ca.

Clara’s Big Ride hit Vancouver on May 17 and will ctoniue across the country, spanning 110 days, and 95 communities across Canada. The ride concludes on Canada Day, July 1, in Ottawa. For more information visit bell.ca/clarasbigride.