Hockey is a man’s sport– no time for feelings or emotions. Everyone involved in hockey is cocky and ignores feelings and only cares about the game.
That’s what we’re made to think about this sport, and while some aspects of that still may be slightly true, Detroit Red Wings coach, Mike Babcock, is speaking out and making change to raise awareness about mental health/illness and the negative stigmas that are attached by participating in Bell Let’s Talk Day. His main goal is simply to get people to realize that there’s nothing wrong with feeling low, but that they shouldn’t let that make them feel weak and like they can’t talk to anyone. For every tweet with the tag #BellLetsTalk on January 28, 5 cents will be donated to various mental health programs in Canada.
Babcock really inspires me as a leader in this. He has not only declared himself a great leader in the world of hockey, as the Wings head coach for quite some time now, but he is also declaring his leadership through this cause. The fact that he has seen how different types of mental sickness can effect individuals and families and the fact that he not only wants to change the way people think about mental illness, but that he is actually doing something to create change is really what makes him a leader to me. Not only that, but he is also going against the grain of what we all think of hockey players and coaches: that there is no time for playing with emotions or depression. That is what really makes him stick out to me. People will obviously be motivated to follow him and want to support this cause, for a couple reasons. 1, he is the head coach of the Red Wings, of course people are going to look up to him. This could also mean that people who might still associate negativity with mental illness might look at it differently if the head coach of a pro hockey team feels this way about it. 2, in his interview he makes note that everyone has problems, no matter how big or small, but if we think we can take care of them ourselves, we are wrong. Talking to people about our issues doesn’t make us a weaker person, but it really makes us stronger. Any person could relate to that and want to support that, even if they had no idea he was affiliated with the Wings.
I know that this whole #BellLetsTalk thing has affected me in a good way because it really is a good and necessary reminder to hear that everyone struggles with something and that it is okay to talk about it. I’m also really glad that money is being donated to mental illness programs so that people who really need the help can get it easier. I hope this awareness campaign has also positively influenced other people in the same way it has for me. The organization has raised $67.5 million for mental health over the years and I think that’s amazing. Hopefully someday, the stigma connected to mental illness will be completely gone, but until then, I am grateful there are campaigns such as these to promote the well-being of others.