Vancouver Canucks Honour Rick Rypien with Re-Launch of Mindcheck.ca
Rick Rypien had a difficult job in the NHL. At 5’11” and approximately 175 lbs. he fought the NHL’s toughest customers, often on the wrong end of height and weight differential. I remember sitting with my wife in the lower bowl at the then GM Place as he dropped his gloves with an opponent that towered over him. My wife was aghast, “Why would that big guy pick on such a little guy!” “Just wait honey,” was all I could say. There was nothing to worry about.
I recall after the game hearing Roberto Luongo comment that he couldn’t remember hearing the rink so loud as when the crowd saluted Rypien for his efforts. David had conquered Goliath and it electrified us all.
Rick Rypien is no longer with us. It has been reported that he committed suicide after struggling with Depression for an unknown number of years.
Mike Gillis and the Vancouver Canucks organization (through the Canucks for Kids Fund) have chosen to honor Rick’s legacy with the re-launch of Mindcheck.ca, a website aimed at helping the youth of British Columbia to understand the challenge of Mental Health. With approximately 1 in every 4 adults dealing with a Mental Issue per year, the goals are to (1) increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, (2) direct people to toward appropriate help and supports, and in the process (3) diminish the stigma often associated with Mental Health issues.
Rick Rypien's friend and teammate on the Vancouver Canucks, Kevin Bieksa: “Unless you are suffering from the disease, unless you go through it yourself … you can’t totally understand it. I think that is the first thing you have to understand as a friend helping out … you can’t understand what they are feeling and going through. Being an ear for them helps out I think and listening to their problems and then directing them towards the right people who can help them. That’s the responsibility of a friend.”
Kevin Bieksa Video: http://bit.ly/yY69fc
Maybe my wife was right. Even when we have faith in someone that they can handle themselves in very difficult circumstances, we should keep checking in to make sure they are okay.
Depression is a modern-day Goliath that has been growing in strength over the past few decades. Its negative effects often change the lives of individuals as well as families and friends but there is hope. Efforts made by our kids’ heroes (people like Kevin Bieksa, and rest of the Vancouver Canucks players) to reach out to children at risk are to be commended. The willingness of the Canucks as an organization to give back is deeply appreciated. Lets all do our part to contribute to the community we call BC.
Jeff Ross, MA RCC
Jeff is a Registered Clinical Counsellor supporting clients in Vancouver (Yaletown) and North Vancouver, BC, Canada. He supports individuals with such issues as depression, anxiety, stress management, relationship issues, grief and bereavement, career and educational issues as well as growth and development. In addition he also does couples counselling / marriage counselling.
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