ACAC Teams Up with RBC Olympians and Sheldon Kennedy to Make Some Noise for Mental Health

We asked a member of the Canadian Mental Health Association to discuss mental health and how people can effectively care for their own mental health.
We asked a member of the Canadian Mental Health Association to discuss mental health and how people can effectively care for their own mental health.

Student-athletes and mental health advocates in Alberta are teaming up with RBC and Sheldon Kennedy to reduce stigma related to mental illness and promote mental health and wellness. Make Some Noise for Mental Health is an award-winning campaign which promotes mental health awareness on 17 post-secondary campuses in 15 communities.

For a third consecutive year, and with endorsement from the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) is conducting a conference-wide mental health awareness campaign. ACAC is thankful for the ongoing relationship with RBC, the ‘Make Some Noise for Mental Health’ presenting partner. 

"The involvement of RBC as the presenting partner, and continued support of CMHA Alberta and the CMHA Alberta Regional Offices, has been absolutely pivotal in expanding the profile and scope of this important ACAC initiative. We simply can't thank both organizations enough for lending their influential voices to the ACAC's efforts to make more noise about mental health,” says Mark Kosak, CEO, Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

“RBC is incredibly proud to support the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference in their efforts to further the discussion about mental health and reduce stigma.” says Jeff Boyd, regional president of RBC in Alberta and the Territories. “This partnership is part of RBC’s broader commitment to help young Canadians thrive. Through RBC Future Launch, we work toward improving the prospects of Canada's youth as they prepare to lead our country in the decades ahead.”

The ACAC is thrilled that Sheldon Kennedy has agreed to continue in his role as the Honorary Make Some Noise Campaign Chair. The recent Order of Canada recipient won a Memorial Cup, World Junior Championship Gold Medal and skated for three NHL teams during his prolific hockey career. He is best known for his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey league coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered over a five-year period while a teenager under his care.

"I am excited to support the ACAC with their Make Some Noise for Mental Health Campaign. By empowering the bystander, we create an environment where standards are set and informed actions can be taken. I truly believe that, in my situation, had adults/peers around me had the knowledge, questions would have been asked and things would have been different."  Kennedy said.

The campaign was initiated by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Trojans in January 2015. The Trojan Outreach Program won a national 2015 community service award for their efforts.

 “We learned from the first SAIT Trojans campaign four years ago and the initial ACAC campaign in 2016, just how important this health issue has become on our post-secondary campuses,” says Kosak. “Students and ACAC student-athletes in particular, are coping with a broad spectrum of stressors and we’re only beginning to truly understand the full and varying effect that can have. Our students and our student-athletes are future leaders and we believe this campaign can profoundly contribute to societal views about mental health to create a more understanding and tolerant future.”

Coinciding with ‘Blue Monday’, the campaign begins on January 15 and continues until February 11, 2018. By involving student-athletes, Make Some Noise for Mental Health is intended to encourage empathy, understanding and open-mindedness while promoting resources and support available on campuses and in the community. The campaign will be promoted through student-led, on-campus activities and appearances from NHL Alumni Sheldon Kennedy at ACAC members’ events for various sports including volleyball, basketball and hockey. This year’s campaign is being supported by RBC Olympians Brianne Jenner (Women’s Hockey) and Brady Leamon to whom we wish the very best as they represent Canada in PyeongChang at the February 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

“Make Some Noise for Mental Health links student-athletes to a cause that resonates with all Albertans,” David Grauwiler, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association Alberta Division.

The ACAC member institutions will collaborate with the nine CMHA regional offices and provincial CMHA office to connect those experiencing mental illness and those who are impacted by mental illness with the support they need.

Full schedule & details available online at ise/make-some-noise-2018-event s