Carrying on Rypien legacy earns honour for Canucks

rypCarrying on Rypien legacy earns honour for Canucks

Okay so it’s not really travel related but this is one of the many reasons why I love the Vancouver Canucks

Carrying on Rypien legacy earns honour for Canucks

Team earns Purdy Award for their contribution to promoting treatment and reducing stigmas with mental health issues

BY STEVE EWEN, THE PROVINCE APRIL 13, 2013
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Carrying on Rypien legacy earns honour for Canucks

A proud Canucks fan displays her support for the late Rick Rypien during a home game against the Rangers. The Canucks are being honoured for their work in raising awareness about mental health issues.

Photograph by: Jeff Vinnick , NHLI via Getty Images

Taylor Makin’s mood perked up when he heard the Vancouver Canucks are being honoured by a major American advocacy group for raising awareness of mental health issues.

It’s part of the club carrying on the legacy of his late cousin, Rick Rypien, the former Canucks winger.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is awarding the Canucks the Rona and Ken Purdy Award for their contribution to promoting treatment and reducing stigmas.

In February, the Canucks spearheaded Hockey Talks, an initiative to increase dialogue and awareness surrounding mental health issues.

The Canucks, along with the six other Canadian teams and with the support of the NHL, wore Hockey Talks logos on their helmets and had Hockey Talks signs on their rink boards.

The Canucks have also helped fund http://www.mindcheck.ca, a website designed to provide early recognition of mental health concerns and suggest avenues for treatment through the mental health services in the province.

Rypien, according to many with the Canucks, wanted people to ask for help. He had suffered through depression for a decade. He took his own life in August 2011. He was 27.

“They’re carrying on what Rick wanted to do for people and it’s really great that they’re being recognized for it,” said Makin, a player who is finishing up his junior eligibility this spring with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits.

“It’s something that people who aren’t affected don’t often understand. It’s no different than a physical injury. People don’t have a problem with getting help for a physical injury,” added the 21-year-old, who spent time with the Prince George Cougars and Vancouver Giants before moving on to Brooks this season. ”

Canucks vice-president of communication and community partnerships TC Carling added: “This award means a great deal to our organization because Rick had confided in us his desire to help young people dealing with mental illness. We are committed to carrying on his legacy and ensuring young people know it is OK to ask for help.”

The Purdy Award is named in honour of the founders of the NAMI Campaign to End Discrimination.

Previous Purdy recipients have included Jane Pauley, the former Today Show and Dateline host who revealed in her biography that she had been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder; Carrie Fisher, the Star Wars star who disclosed her bipolar disorder in her memoirs and then later in a one-woman stage performance and an HBO documentary; and Nathaniel Ayers, the Juilliard School-trained musician whose story of developing schizophrenia and ending up homeless is the basis for the movie The Soloist.

In a news release, NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick said: “The Canucks have set an outstanding precedent in the sports world for team devotion to mental health education as a public service.

:NAMI hopes recognition of the Canucks’ leadership will inspire more NHL teams, other sports leagues and fans everywhere to speak out and encourage people to get help when they need it.”

© Copyright (c) The Province

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