WATCH: Corey Hirsch on Why We Need to Talk About Mental Health

January 27, 2021. Article by: Government of B.C.

About 70% of serious mental health issues start before the age of 25. Mental health challenges are very common, yet there’s stigma – or shame and blame – around mental health, which can make it harder for people to reach out for help. Especially for men who may feel pressured to appear tough or to hide their feelings.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are experiencing heightened feelings of stress, anxiety and depression – some for the first time. Some are facing increased pressures, including loss of income or employment. People may feel they need to be strong because the people they care about are counting on them.

This weight can feel overwhelming. It is more important now than ever to find support for your mental health. It’s okay to not to be okay.

Corey Hirsch knows first-hand what it's like. In his early 20's, his career was taking off as an NHL goaltender with the Vancouver Canucks. On the outside, he was happy and excited about life. But on the inside, he was struggling.

I started getting these thoughts. Repetitive, deep, dark thoughts that I couldn’t stop. Along with that came panic attacks, a lot of anxiety, depression…I was late for practices, late for meetings. I was always trying to do everything I could to hide my mental illness.

Corey’s story shows the strength in talking about mental health and substance use challenges. Share Corey’s video on social media so that someone else who may need help will see it and know that they are not alone.

If someone reaches out to you, it’s extremely important to be non-judgemental. Listening without judgement is probably one of the greatest things you can do for someone struggling with mental illness.

Mental health challenges are health challenges, reach out and have a conversation.

What to do if you are facing mental health or substance use challenges

The first step for many people is talking to a friend or family member. If the challenge you’re facing is affecting your life – whether causing difficulties with family, friends, at work or school – talk to a healthcare professional. A doctor can help you understand what you may be experiencing and give you guidance.

To find support: