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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Hockey Talks goes bar down for mental health awareness

By Mike Hajmasy

For 20 CAMH clients from programs across the organization, the sixth annual
Hockey Talks Mental Health Awareness Night was an evening that won’t soon be forgotten. Thanks to a generous donation by Ford, the group had the chance to attend the game in person and cheer on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Hockey Talks is an initiative run by the National Hockey League (NHL) that aims to end stigma in the world of sport and beyond. CAMH has partnered with the Toronto Maple Leafs on this initiative since 2013.

Occupational Therapists Peter Mastorakos and Gina Oades (left) cheer on the ‘buds’ with a group of their clients from CAMH’s Downtown West (Archway) Clinic and LEARN Program.

This is an incredible opportunity to share an experience of a lifetime with our clients and staff,” said Quinn Kirby, Manager, Gifts of Light who spoke with in-game host Danielle Emanuele as fans took their seats. “These are the kinds of meaningful gifts our program aims to provide our clients, and community partnerships like this play such an important role in that.”

Quinn Kirby spoke with in-game host Danielle Emanuele live on the Air Canada Centre’s jumbotron.

For some clients, it was the first professional ice hockey game in a long time; for others, it was the first ever. And for each and every one of them, it was a chance to have some fun on an evening promoting acceptance and understanding for the cause. 

CAMH clients and staff test out the Ford Fan Deck photo booth, equipped with Leafs paraphilia and Star Wars masks aplenty.

Ahead of this year’s regular scheduled programming – an action-packed matchup between the Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche – Leafs Nation Network spoke with CAMH Psychologist Dr. Donna Ferguson on the topic of mental health and advocacy. 

Dr. Donna Ferguson was rink side with Leafs Nation Network just before puck drop at the Air Canada Centre.

“When we think of professional athletes, the emphasis is typically on physical and mental toughness,” she explained. “But it’s important to remember that mental health issues can impact anyone. We have to remain open to this idea, and awareness events like Hockey Talks are a step in the right direction.”

Visit CAMH’s Instagram channel for more photos from the sixth annual Hockey Talks event.



Published on January 24, 2018​


 Leafs Nation Network: Hockey Talks 2018


 Related Video

Hockey Talks 2017 with Dr. Katy Kamkar:


Leafs Head Coach Mike Babcock on mental illness and sport:

Former NHLer Corey Hirsch's story of struggle and recovery:

Event recap: Hockey Talks 2018

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