In support of World Suicide Prevention Day former NHL goalie, and mental health advocate, Clint Malarchuk will be making stops in three Canadian cities to share the story of his journey to recovery and help break down the stigma around suicide. His goal is to make the mental health conversation an open, common one, “we’re very early in that whole process,” he says. Malarchuk’s joint speaker series with CASP will be stopping in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta on September 8, and Hamilton, Ontario on September 12.
For more than twenty years Malarchuk battled several mental heath issues, during which he also upheld an impressive 12-year career in professional hockey. Many will remember his on-ice accident when a fellow player’s skate cut his carotid artery. The unfortunate incident triggered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which led to a suicide attempt in 2008.
It was only after waking up and embarking upon the road to recovery that Malarchuk could “reflect on everything – more importantly; why was I spared?” The answer materialized as a 2014 autobiography ‘The Crazy Game: How I Survived In The Crease And Beyond’ which framed his struggles with mental illness against his personal and professional life. It has allowed him to share his story, and realize a greater purpose – helping others who struggle with mental illness who “don’t know that they can get well.”
In his darkest days, Malarachuk didn’t believe that anyone could understand just how low he felt, “well there’s people like me, but they’re not as bad.” And so, along with many others, he suffered in silence. He is motivated to speak out and show those who are also struggling that yes, there are people like you, and yes they are “that bad,” but also, “you can get help and be well, that’s the biggest thing.”
Since his journey of recovery Malarchuk has found joy and fulfillment “traveling, talking, speaking and being a mental health advocate.” Our society needs his lived experience to help us understand mental illness, the importance of asking for help and why people suicide to help us break the attached stigma. While he will always be active with hockey and enjoys giving back to both the kids and the game, he says, “Saving lives is more important.”
Click here for more information on World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2016, including Clint Malarchuk’s speaking engagements dates and times, other events and a digital toolkit.