01/28/2023 Hockey World Making Strides When It Comes To Mental Health

You could argue whether it’s deserved or not, but I’m often very critical of the media’s coverage of MH.  In aggregate they still haven’t shaken an old formula = this public figure, suffered with this disorder, took this outlandish action (or worse, we lost them). They put different stories out there for shock value, even though there are clear threads & themes they aren’t pointing out. 

But this article right here from SportsNet is perhaps one of the best I’ve read on the topic in a LONG time. We gotta give credit where credit is due, & hope other outlets follow this lead.

Why was the article so good from an advocacy perspective? A number of reasons:

– The focus was on a player, Ethan Bear, from the Canucks, taking a game off to mourn the loss of his dog. It was not about a disorder. It was not about outlandish behavior. It was an everyday story, everyone can relate to, that impacts all of us: loss.

– There was nuance discussed: different players offered different opinions on how the league is starting to change…how progress is starting to be made…how this “type” of stuff wouldn’t be acceptable in the past as guys couldn’t even leave to go watch this birth of their children.

– It discusses the similarities btwn hockey players & everyday folks – how the loss of an animal can be such a devastating blow, & is a valid reason why someone would miss work – regardless of salary.

– It talks about how we are all the same in going thru challenging life events, but all different in how those events can affect us & we can cope. Darnell Nurse, Alternate Captain from the Oilers added this: “A lot of people are going through things within their own mind that are hard to cope with. If you could go around the room — go around your work, go around your family — everyone’s been affected in one way or another.”

We need more of THIS. Everyday struggles that are common, being openly discussed, through the lens of mental HEALTH, tracking the progress we are making. Well done, SportsNet!

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