On Thursday October 20, Brock hosted roughly 600 elementary school students, from the surrounding area, in the Bob Davis Gymnasium in order to promote awareness about mental health as part of the annual Badgers Speak Out event.
This year marked the second time Brock’s Men’s Basketball team has been involved with the Badgers Speak Out event. Each year a new theme is chosen consistently focusing on various important issues in society, this year focused in on mental health.
“It’s always important to give back to the community, especially to the kids because you never know how you can inspire their future,” said Moe Ismail, one of the Brock Men’s Basketball athletes, “and an event such as this [also allows our team to] step up as leaders in the community and use basketball as a tool to spread awareness for a current issue.”
The event highlighted the words of Denise Grummett, a mother who lost her son, Tyler, to the epidemic that is mental illness.
At his high school, E.L. Crossley Secondary School in Fonthill, Tyler Grummett was a top basketball player. He had attended a Brock basketball training academy in hopes of one day playing for the Brock Badgers varsity team. Tragically, instead, the Men’s Basketball team holds a memorial tournament each December in his name.
Denise Grummett, a Brock Alumna, shared her heartbreaking story and spoke bravely to the crowd about how important it is for people, especially youth, to voice their thoughts and issues concerning mental health.
“There’s no shame in admitting you need help. You don’t have to suffer in silence,” said Grummett.
There were five other guest speakers that addressed the young students, one of them was Tyler Grummett’s schoolmate, Matthew Beard, who discussed his experiences and his own battles with mental health issues. Beard encouraged the students to look at mental health just as they would any other illness or injury.
“Talking about it is like going to the hospital to get a cast on a broken arm or taking an Advil for a headache,” said Beard, “So what I did was I told somebody. I told my friends, my teachers and my parents and I was so afraid that they wouldn’t be there for me, but they were. They supported me and they got me the help I needed.”
The event’s primary message was to encourage students to speak to their parents, their teachers, their friends and anybody else that could help when it comes to how they’re feeling; mental health is an important issue that should be addressed as soon as possible.
“You spend most of your waking hours at school. Your teachers, your administration and your friends see you every day. They are some of the most important people in your lives who you can share what’s troubling you with,” said Grummett.
The Canadian Mental Health Association states, “It is estimated that 10-20 per cent of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please do not hesitate to reach out. There are resources available on and off campus for all Brock students. For more information, you can contact Personal Counselling on campus at (905) 688-5550 ext. 4750 or visit them in Schmon Tower, ST400.