Mental illness is not something to be taken lightly. Regardless of what disorder or condition anyone suffers there should never be a reason that someone doesn’t feel comfortable to talk about it. It’s not a dirty word, it certainly isn’t anything to be ashamed or embarrassed of. Yet every single day people all over the world are suffering in silence, terrified of the repercussions that might come from opening up.
Today, across the internet you have probably seen people using the hashtag BellLetsTalk. It’s to raise awareness and to try and dampen that stigma that means that approximately every 2 hours, someone in the European Union (including the United Kingdom & Ireland) commits suicide.
Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the UK and it is considerably higher in men, with nearly four times as many men dying as a result of suicide compared to women. Those at highest risk are men aged between 45 and 59 years who have a rate of 25.1 per 100,000 population.
Some of the biggest stars of the EIHL are doing their part to raise awareness as well, including GMB Nottingham Panthers enforcer, Brian McGratten and the Coventry Blaze’s Barry Almeida. Sheffield Steelers tough guy, Guillaume Desbiens has previously participated in an awareness campaign for suicide.
According to statistics, men are more likely to suffer in silence owing to the way that the media often tries to make men out to be weak if they share how they feel. Recently, campaigns have been more active to try and reduce the stigma and encourage men to speak out. Hockey players all over the world are trying to break that stigma and encourage those who are suffering to speak out.
Mental illness isn’t new in Ice Hockey, owing to the real risk of head injuries, concussion is always a possibility. This is why player safety and education is key to the progression of the game going forward and if players are speaking openly about struggles they have had owing to their injuries it might be the encouragement a fan might need to talk about theirs.
So perhaps jump on Twitter if you have it and share your story with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk and let’s start a conversation about mental health.
If you or someone you know is suffering with mental illness, please don’t suffer in silence. There is always someone there to help you and to listen without judgement.