The Dalhousie Tigers’ basketball teams played host to Make Some Noise night, an initiative designed to raise awareness about mental health.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams faced off against the Memorial University Sea-Hawks in a pair of games on Saturday night.
A portion of the proceeds from the two games will support mental health initiatives.
“We don’t really have a (goal), we just want to raise awareness this year rather than raising funds,” said Robbi Daley, a fifth-year health promotions student.
She’s a member of the women’s team and decided to organize the event after she lost one of her friends to suicide last year.
“It made me really aware of the issue, mental health and suicide. It made me want to do something.”
They decided to host this event in a game against Memorial because that team also lost someone to suicide in the last year.
Jacob Ranton, a member of the men’s team was originally from Waterloo, Ont.
He took his life over the Christmas holidays back in his hometown.
Liz McLaughlin, who lost her son, Alex, to suicide just two weeks before he was set to graduate, spoke during the half-time break in the men’s game.
“I am certainly aware of the stresses you face as athletes,” said McLaughlin, whose son played on the basketball team for Acadia University.
She said that mental health issues are too often overlooked because student-athletes do not want to miss playing time.
“We need to make it as normal to tell your coach your feelings of depression as it is to say you have back spasms and leg cramps,” she said.
Spectators were given balloons and a pin for popping during half-time, to “make some noise” for mental health.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and 24.
The Lawtons Drugs chain sponsored the event and distributed business cards with the phone number for the Mental Health Mobile Crises Team.
“For us it was very important, not just because it was basketball but the fact that they were doing it for mental health awareness, so we wanted to be a part of it,“ said Janane Chater, director of marketing and communications for Lawtons.
The Dalhousie men’s team took a resounding 94-66 win, while the women lost a nail-biter, 66-65.
Need Help? Pick up the phone.
The Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team hotline 1 (800) 429-8167.
They are a confidential service that allows people to call in and speak to a mental health counsellor about any issues they are facing.
They offer short term crisis management and intervention for children, youth and adults.