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Atlantic University Sport and Bell Let's Talk partner to support the conversation about mental health

  • 11 Atlantic University Sport member universities and their 2,200 student-athletes team up to support mental health on Bell Let's Talk Day, January 27
  • 4 Atlantic University Sport men's hockey games in 3 provinces to host Bell Let's Talk events
  • Student-athletes from all 11 campuses featured in a special video sharing their own mental health stories

HALIFAX, Jan. 11, 2016 /CNW/ - Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and Bell Aliant have joined forces for the sixth annual Bell Let's Talk Day on January 27. Everyone is invited to join the conversation with 2,200 student-athletes from 11 Atlantic universities to help end the stigma around mental illness.

"By partnering with Atlantic University Sport, Bell Let's Talk is reaching student-athletes all across Atlantic Canada to encourage conversations about mental health," said Dan McKeenBell Senior Vice President and Vice Chair, Atlantic. "Increasing awareness and improving attitudes about mental health is the key to reducing the stigma around mental illness that keeps so many from seeking the help they need."

This sentiment is shared by UPEI Panthers men's soccer coach, Lewis Page: "Stepping out of the silence and talking about mental health is so important in fighting stigma. The Bell Let's Talk campaign lets student-athletes and coaches know that it's ok to reach out and talk, it's ok to ask for help, and it's ok to help others."

"While competition and rivalry is the nature of sport, Bell Let's Talk Day is a great opportunity for all our schools and teams to come together in support of mental health," said AUS executive director Phil Currie. "The slogan we developed with Bell Aliant for this partnership is 'One Team For Mental Health' and that really encompasses what we're doing."

Mental illness is an issue that hits home for many students and their peers with suicide accounting for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds.

Bell Let's Talk Day AUS men's hockey games

With 4 AUS men's hockey games taking place in 3 provinces on Bell Let's Talk Day, fans around the conference are invited to come out and show their support on January 27.

The first few hundred fans at each game will receive a Bell Let's Talk toque. Stations will be set up at each venue where fans can participate by creating personalized speech bubbles, taking photos to share on social media and signing banners to show their support.

Bell Let's Talk spokesperson and well-known entertainer Mary Walsh will take part in a ceremonial puck drop at the Saint Mary's andDalhousie game hosted at the Halifax Forum.

  • Saint Mary's Huskies visit the Dalhousie Tigers at the Halifax Forum at 7 pm.
  • The StFX X-Men visit the Acadia Axemen in Wolfville at 7 pm.
  • Moncton Aigles Bleus visit the UPEI Panthers in Charlottetown at 7 pm.
  • The St. Thomas Tommies visit the UNB Varsity Reds in Fredericton at 7 pm.

"The hockey games on Bell Let's Talk Day will let all students who struggle with mental illness hear loud and clear that they have our support and can always ask for help," said Luke Madill, captain of the Dalhousie Tigers men's hockey team.

AUS mental health video

Student-athletes from all 11 campuses have stepped forward to share their personal experiences with mental illness in a video which will be viewed conference-wide starting January 18 on the Bell Aliant FibreOP YouTube page.

"The AUS video delivers a powerful message that athletes experience mental health issues like anxiety and depression like everyone else," said Hannah Currie, member of the UNB Varsity Reds women's basketball team. "Hopefully hearing athletes speak out about mental health will give others courage to open up and reach out for help without fear."

Dr. Karen Murphy, Memorial University athletic director, agrees: "It's fantastic to see student–athletes come together to support all students on our respective campuses. This initiative is starting important conversations about mental health in classrooms, residences and sport facilities on campuses across the Atlantic provinces."

Join the conversation to drive mental health funding 

On Bell Let's Talk Day, for every text message, wireless and long distance call made by Bell Aliant and Bell Canada customers, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every Facebook share of the Bell Let's Talk Day image at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate 5 cents more to mental health programs. After the first 5 Bell Let's Talk Days, Bell has committed a total of $73,623,413.80 to support mental health initiatives across the country.

Bell Let's Talk promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns, like Clara's Big Ride for Bell Let's Talk and Bell Let's Talk Day, and significant Bell funding of care and access, research, and workplace initiatives. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

About Bell Aliant

Part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada's largest communications company, Halifax-based Bell Aliant provides residential, business and government customers across Atlantic Canada with advanced communications services including FibreOP TV and Internet, satellite TV, wireless, home phone, data, video and value-added business services. For more information, please visitBellAliant.ca

About Atlantic University Sport

Atlantic University Sport is responsible for governing interuniversity sport in Atlantic Canada. The conference is comprised of 11 member institutions and over 2,000 student-athletes who compete annually for 18 conference championships in 10 different sports, including basketball, cross country, football, hockey, rugby, soccer, swimming, track & field, volleyball & curling. It is the mission of Atlantic University Sport to enhance the educational experience of students in university through sport programs offered by member institutions working in partnership. Learn more at www.atlanticuniversitysport.com.


Media Contacts: Phil Currie, Executive Director, Atlantic University Sport, 902-425-4235, pcurrie@atlanticuniversitysport.com; Katie Burgess, Bell Aliant, 902-487-6198, katie.burgess@bellaliant.ca

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