Mental Health

A video on depression

February 9, 2012

This is a video on depression amongst atheletes.  I am not sure how long the link will be up for, but I cried watching this because I could relate to so much of what was said.  Plesae watch it and share it with others.

http://watch.tsn.ca/clip615660#clip615660

 

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Here I am, enjoying a great game between my beloved Leafs and the despised Ottawa Senators.  The game is going real well with  my team up 5-0 and it looks like it’s going to be a huge win for us.  But I find my thoughts being on something else…

This weekend’s game in Ottawa happens to also be a promotion for D.I.F.D., which stands for “Do It For Daron”.  D.I.F.D. is a youth driven program that is focused on raising awareness and conversations about youth mental health.  Daron Richardson is the daughter of NHL player Luke Richardson.  On November 12, 2010, she took her own life after a long struggle with mental health illness.  Daron was 14 years old.

Watching the game but thinking about Daron, I felt incredibly sad.   I was reminded of my own struggle with depression…the long period of darkness, despair, fear and hopelessness.  The fear of the stigma of being on medication.  The feeling of walking up to the pharmacy counter for the first time with an anti-depressant prescription and feeling like every eye in the store was on me.  Misunderstanding from people who were close to me…all those memories came back.

Looking at where I am today, I feel so fortunate.  Millions of Canadians struggle with mental health illnesses (1 in 5 Canadians will suffer from a mental illness at some poin in their lives)…many of those stories have tragic endings.  But they don’t have to.  If we learn to talk about it openly and honestly, if those of us who have experienced mental illness share our struggles and our stories to encourage others, perhaps more people will open up about their own issues and receive the support they need.

In my last concert “Crazy Hope” which was dedicated to raising awareness for mental health issues, people told me afterwards that the concert had opened doors for conversations.  Thinking about Daron tonight, I realize that I must keep talking, keep making music, keep tearing down the stigma associated with mental illness, keep opening those doors for conversations so that stories like Daron’s can have a different ending.

Chances are you know someone who is struggling with a mental health issue.  I invite you to get involved and help.  Talk with them.  Research to find local programs and services that is available.  Encourage them to reach out for help.  D.I.F.D., Do It For Daron, Do It For Your Friend.

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Celebration of “Survival”

September 25, 2010

Last weekend I was invited to perform at the Annual General Meeting of the Hong Fook Mental Health Association.  What a wonderful group of people!   When I arrived, I was warmly greeted by staff and volunteers, who were all working hard to prepare for the event.   Many of the volunteers are themselves people who live with mental health [...]

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How’s Life?

August 24, 2010

A few nights ago I was chatting with someone I haven’t talked to in a while and we talked about my journey over the last number of years.  In the course of the conversation we talked about what it’s like to live with depression, and he asked, “So, how’s life for you these days?” I thought [...]

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The Healing Power of Music

December 15, 2009

Last night I performed at the Christmas Volunteer Appreciation Dinner of the Canadian Mental Health Association (York Region Branch).  What a wonderful group of people!  Many of the volunteers themselves have been diagnosed with a mental illness.  They have received support and help from this wonderful organization and as a way of giving back and [...]

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Reality of Living with Depression (II)

November 18, 2009

Last week we saw in the news the tragic death of Robert Enke, a top German professional soccer goal keeper.   At the height of his career, Robert Enke took his own life.  It was only after his passing that details of his battle with depression were made known to the public.   Those close to Enke revealed that even though [...]

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Reality of Living with Depression

November 7, 2009

I remembered it as clear as if it happened yesterday. It was about 4 years ago.  I was driving on the 401.  An 18-wheeler (transport truck) pulled up right beside me.  For a long stretch, we raced down the highway side by side. I remember the thought rising up inside me: “Go on…if you steer [...]

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