Clara Hughes – An Inspiration
February 8th was Bell Let’s Talk Day. Although I am sure most of you have seen the advertisements with Clara Hughes, Bell Let’s Talk Day is a part of a $50 million, five year initiative by Bell that aims to facilitate access to resources, support andresearch in the field of mental health.Even though Bell Let’s Talk Day is one day, It is important to keep the conversation going!
Another aspect of the campaign is anti-stigma. Mental illness is highly stigmatized and often hidden leaving many not getting the help and support they need. Clara Hughes has become a spokeswoman for mental health by sharing her experiences and encouraging others to do the same.
I think it’s admirable that Bell is filling a void in the topic of mental health by taking huge steps to affect change. I also want take a moment to highlight Clara Hughes, a very inspiring Canadian athlete both on and off the field of play. During my undergrad, I did a year-long research project on athletes involved in social initiatives with a case study on Clara Hughes. As an athlete, she is the only Canadian athlete to have won medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games but her work outside of sport is just as, if not more commendable. Over the years, she has become involved with a number of different initiatives including: Right to Play for international development through sport; Take A Hike, an alternative, adventure based education program for at risk youth and now Bell’s mental health initiative.
After winning a medal in Torino 2006, she donated her winning money to Right To Play and has since acted as an athlete ambassador. After winning a medal in Vancouver 2010, she donated her prize money to Take A Hike. She then went and spoke with some of the students while they were on an adventure based learning activity. Last year, she became the main spokeswoman in the Bell Let’s Talk Campaign to combat the stigma surrounding mental health. Clara Hughes is an inspiration both in sport and outside of sport. Do you have an Olympian that you admire?