It's hard to write about mental health. It's hard to talk about mental health. It was hard to begin writing this piece. Before I even got started, I asked myself why I was only writing this on the eve of Bell Let's Talk day and not earlier?

It's not as though the Leafs haven't been directly involved in an ongoing mental health discussion in sports. Beloved Leafs enforcer Wade Belak was lost to mental illness less than five years ago. More recently, Marlies enforcer Rich Clune opened up about his battles with mental illness. Today, as Bell Let's Talk encourages us to talk more openly about mental health, Leafs head coach Mike Babcock is helping to lead the charge as an ambassador.

"As soon as [those affected] talk about [mental illness], it’s therapeutic," Babcock told TSN's Michael Landsberg, who openly discusses his fight with mental illness through his #SickNotWeak campaign.

Today, there are things you can do to raise money and awareness:

Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives for every:

  • Text message sent*
  • Mobile & long distance call made*
  • Tweet using #BellLetsTalk
  • Share of the Facebook image

But today shouldn't be the end of this conversation. Mental health awareness doesn't exist in a vacuum in the hockey world, nor does it exist in one on Bell Let's Talk day.

So let's open up the discussion, and make this community a far more accepting, supportive place than it already is. Let's make this a community where every reader feels they can contribute and share. And let's show everyone, unwaveringly, that PPP is a place for them.

As a staff, we'll continue to try talk more openly and sensitively about mental health issues in sport and in hockey. We'll also dedicate ourselves to better monitoring this community to make it a safe space for all of our members. We can do better.

I am always available to chat at My direct messages are also open @scottcwheeler.

Let's talk about mental health, together.