August 15th, 2012 marked the one year anniversary of the passing of Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien.
Rypien worked very hard to make it to the NHL and was rewarded when the Canucks signed him to a contract in 2005. He also wasn’t afraid to stick up for his teammates on the ice, accruing 273 penalty minutes in a combined 136 games.
Unfortunately, even the toughest warriors in hockey have to fight their demons off the ice. This was the case with Rypien as it’s known that he battled depression, something that at times threatened his NHL career.
Depression and other mental health disorders affect many people in this world, myself included.
I recently dealt with depression and realized how difficult it can be. Luckily my family, friends and the constant reminder of what Rick went through every day helped me through. Today I’m able to say that I am better off because I went through it.
Rypien’s passing led to more people speaking out and raising awareness about mental health as well.
The Canucks for Kids Fund, together with the NHLPA Goals and Dreams Fund, honored Rypien’s memory by donating $50,000 to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. The money was then used to develop a website, which features the “37 RYP” logo, that helps the people of BC recognize the symptoms and understand the challenges of mental illness.
Some NHL fans also helped by creating a page on Facebook in Rick’s honor, essentially allowing people to share their stories while fostering mental health awareness.
In all honesty, mental health disorders, such as depression, are tough to go through and can affect more than just you. If you or a friend are struggling with these issues I urge you to seek help as soon as possible.