Today is a big day for mental health awareness and fundraising in Canada.
Bell Canada is one of the country’s biggest telecommunications firms. The company also happens to be a partner of the Canadian Curling Association, and a sponsor of the Canadian Olympic Team heading to Sochi 2014 one year from now.
“Let’s Talk” is Bell’s annual day-long campaign to promote awareness of mental health challenges and to raise hard dollars toward solutions. All day today, any text message sent and received on the Bell communications network will generate five cents in revenue. Similarly, another five cents will be raised by any tweets posted with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, regardless of which platform you use. In addition, there’s a Facebook image bouncing around; share it, and another nickel goes into the coffers.
The Curling News is proud to join the campaign today, and we’ve urged other curling fans – from any country, really – to join in, too. The tweets and retweets have begun, and we hope today proves to be a healthy (and profitable) 24 hours.
Mental illness suffers from far too many social stigmas, and that alone is an enormous barrier to understanding, acceptance and treatment. Mental illness, including depression, is everywhere, and this was proven some 14 months ago when a tragedy stunned the world of curling.
In November of 2011, former world junior champion skip and Brier finalist Jim Sullivan committed suicide. For years the soft-spoken New Brunswick competitor had quietly struggled with depression, until he took his life at age 43.
Here’s what we posted on The Curling News Blog and here, below, is what we published (along with the photo above) in the They Said It department of the December 2012 print issue of The Curling News.
This excerpt originally appeared at the end of our publisher’s weekly curling column in the Toronto Sun, after nary a word of the root cause of Sullivan’s death – the “d” word – had been mentioned by anyone in curling media. As a further shock to curling fans, publisher gk revealed that two other tragedies had struck the curling world over the previous year and a half.
Read on, and please consider a re-think of mental health issues – and support today’s Bell Let’s Talk campaign, any way you can…
The shocking death of New Brunswick skip Jim Sullivan at age 43 has rocked the curling world.
Sullivan’s team defeated Ontario’s Wayne Middaugh to win the 1987 Canadian Juniors and one year later took his Saint John foursome to gold at the world juniors. Two years after that, he skipped New Brunswick all the way to the Brier final before losing to Ontario legend Ed “The Wrench” Werenich.
Sullivan’s suicide is the third such incident involving high-profile curling competitors in recent years.
During the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, French curler Solene Coulot took her own life at only age 20. In December 2010, Scottish wheelchair curling champion Frank Duffy ended his in a horrific car fire.
This doesn’t mean that curling is facing a scenario similar to that of NHL hockey. Curling athletes are not paid professionals, and when it comes to physical contact the two ice sports could not be more different.
But what Sullivan and others shared with many people, including some NHL hockey players, was the dark world of depression. It can strike when we least expect it, as witnessed by the sadness that is quietly drifting through the curling world. And the fact that curlers of even the highest ability are real people, with careers and families and pressures and fears, should make us think long and hard about the insidious nature of this disease.
– George Karrys (Toronto Sun)
[Photo courtesy CCA – click on image to increase viewing size]