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Watching a friend and former teammate struggle with bouts of depression was all the motivation Myles Mattila needed.
Three years ago, Mattila, then just 15, decided he would do whatever he could to help raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
“It was hard watching a friend going through depression, neither of us even knew what depression was at the time,” said Mattila, now 18. “It was sad seeing him isolating himself, I didn’t know how to help, so I decided to learn as much as I could about mental health.
“It’s about getting people to discuss mental health for the right reasons, to remove the stigma and let people know if they are struggling, it’s OK to talk about it and reach out for help.”
While living in Prince George and playing hockey last season with the Cariboo Cougars, Mattila launched MindRight, a program designed to enhance mental health and wellness for youth.
“There haven’t always been a lot of resources for young athletes,” said Mattila, who now lives in Kelowna with his family. “Sometimes there can be a lot of pressure, so what do they do with all that stress?
“It’s about knowing what steps to take when they see the signs and it seems more people are affected by (mental health issues) all the time. People feel handcuffed because they don’t know what it is, who to talk to or where to turn.”
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