One of the main reasons I appreciate the Vancouver Canucks so much is the work they do in the community. Whether it’s large donations like those made by the Sedin twins to BC Children’s hospital or helping to build a playground at a school in Burnaby, the Canucks are constantly and personally involved in charity work around the city of Vancouver and province of British Columbia.
On Tuesday, the team announced that the Canucks for Kids Fund is helping to launch Mindcheck.ca, a resource website to increase awareness and understanding of mental illness. The website will be part of the legacy of Rick Rypien, who passed away last August after a long struggle with depression.
One of Rypien’s closest friends, Kevin Bieksa, played a large role in this project. He knew how difficult it was for Rypien to share his struggles with others, even though he wanted to do so to help others who were going through the same trials.
“I obviously have a personal interest invested in this and it’s near and dear to my heart to carry on his legacy,” said Bieksa. “I went through it with him the last few years and understand the struggles and mental health challenges and how underestimated it can be and how overlooked, too. There’s still not a lot of conversation out there and we’re trying to raise awareness and erase the stigma associated with it. Hopefully, we don’t have to see anybody else go through something like that.”
Bieksa has recorded a PSA for the website, as well as adding his voice to the “In One Voice” campaign, which is a pledge to support those struggling with mental health.
I encourage you to visit the website and become familiar with the symptoms of mental illness and depression. Add your voice to the In One Voice pledge. It’s possible that there is someone in your life struggling with this but they are afraid to speak out. Even for those who have friends and family supporting them, like Rypien, it’s a difficult journey.
I only knew Rypien as a hockey player and I loved what he brought to the Canucks. This feels like the right way to honour his memory, to help others going through the same struggle that he went through. As a further step, the Canucks team store will be selling t-shirts like the one worn by Bieksa in the PSA, with all the proceeds going to the Canucks for Kids Fund in support of mental wellness.
The full Bieksa interview regarding Rypien is available on Canucks.com and it is well worth watching. Then find the people you love and tell them that you love them.Tags: Bieksa, Rick Rypien, Rypien