Kevin Bieksa’s vital role in ending the stigma around mental illness

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Kevin Bieska vowed to never stop talking about mental illness and to end the stigma associated with it.

Kevin Bieksa has been a long-time advocate for Mental Health Awareness.  He is constantly sharing his stories of his former teammate Rick Rypien,who took his own life while struggling with mental illness.

Following Rypien’s death, the Anaheim Ducks’ defenseman helped launch the website (formerly to help raise awareness and provide a valuable tool for people who may be affected by mental illness or know someone who is.  This has been a great resource for people and has helped save a daughter’s life, an example amongst many.

There has long been a stigma with mental illness as if needing help makes you weak.  However, that is most definitely not the case.  As human-beings we all need to rally together to end the stigma and let people know that they have someone to talk to.

Life is a precious yet fleeting entity.  There is no re-set button.  We need to care about the people around us, and help those who are in need.  There is a very good chance that someone you know is suffering from mental illness, but does not want to talk about it.  Those who suffer from mental illness do not want to share or expose their so-called “weakness”, or think that others won’t understand.

All we can do as a friend or family member is to try to understand them, and let them know that you love them regardless of the illness.  As someone who also struggles with depression, I know first-hand that having someone in your corner who you can count on goes a long way.  We may push you away, get angry at your persistence to talk, or flat out ignore you for days but it means the world that you care.

So please, let’s be there for one another and let’s talk because sometimes the hardest battle someone is fighting is one you can’t see.

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Today, January 31st is #BellLetsTalk day.  Bell will donate 5 cents to Mental Health Initiatives for each of the interactions listed.  Tweet using #BellLetsTalk, Use of Bell Let’s Talk Facebook Frame, Snap Sent with Bell Let’s Talk filter.