Concordia Stingers men’s team hosted the Bell Let’s Talk game ahead of campaign
For a second year in a row, Philippe Hudon, captain of the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team, is leading a cause close to his heart.
Hudon is Concordia’s representative for the Bell Let’s Talk campaign to raise awareness about mental health and to end the stigma surrounding it. Hudon himself was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in 2010.
The Stingers hosted their Bell Let’s Talk game on Jan. 12 at the Ed Meagher Arena in a 4-2 loss against the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes.
“Unfortunately we didn’t come out on top today,” Hudon said following the game. “I think a lot of guys worked hard, not just for myself but for the cause itself. I think they realized it’s something that’s important for me.”
At the game, representatives from Bell were handing out noisemakers, hats and temporary tattoos for fans. There was also a ceremonial puck drop before the game between Hudon and the Patriotes’ captain, Pierre-Maxime Poudrier.
After the Stingers first hosted the Bell Let’s Talk game last year, Hudon spoke about his mental illness with CTV News and The Concordian. Since then, head coach Marc-André Élement said Hudon has been involved around the Stingers athletic complex to help out any other athlete who wants to talk.
“Last year, we had a lot of response from student-athletes who contacted him,” Élement said. “The fact that he’s really involved, it shows his leadership for that cause.”
Hudon said it’s great that almost the entire month of January is dedicated to opening up about mental health and trying to end the stigma around it. But the fourth-year finance student said he’s open to talk year-round.
“For me, being a survivor of OCD, I’m still trying to work out the finer details of it, but I’ve struggled, and I’m happy to say I’ve come out on top,” Hudon said. “Now, I’m someone who could lend an ear. I could just listen to people who are living it. I like to be there for those people. I’ve gone through the struggle; it’s really not easy, let alone talking about it.”
However, Hudon said everyone needs to keep the conversation going even after January. “It’s something that’s with you the entire year. It’s not something that you can notice for one month then just let it go.”
Last year, Bell said they had 53 universities and over 20,000 student-athletes involved in the campaign. According to CTV, the 2017 Bell Let’s Talk campaign, which donated money based on texts, phone calls and social media interactions on Jan. 25, raised over $6.5 million for mental health programs. This year, the campaign will take place on Jan. 31.
Since the Bell Let’s Talk campaign started in 2010, Hudon said he has seen the cause grow tremendously.
“The workplace, now, is being more proactive and creating these seminars and being there at all times for people who need the support,” he said.
While Hudon aims to end the stigma surrounding mental health, his head coach and the rest of the team will be by his side.
“It’s fun to be part of such a great cause, and we’re happy to support him,” Élement said.
Concordia students looking for someone to talk to can visit the mental health services at the downtown campus in room GM-200, or at the Loyola campus in room AD-131.
Main photo by Alex Hutchins