Habs shine spotlight on mental illness
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013 2:59PM EST
Half a dozen teenagers with mental illnesses are getting a helping hand from the Montreal Canadiens.
The team invited the teenagers -- all patients at the mental health centre 'Les Petits Tresors' in Quebec City - to watch an NHL game from the comfort of box seats in the Bell Centre.
16-year-old Emmanuelle Tremblay had never been to a Habs game before and she loved every minute of it.
"Last week someone says to me, 'you're going to go to the Centre Bell and see the Canadiens and I cried!" said Emmanuelle.
Not only did she get to go the the game, but she got to meet hockey players, past and present.
Habs legend Guy Lafleur has lived through his son's struggles with mental illness and understands the difficulty these teenagers can have.
"Nobody knows about where to go and who to consult," said Lafleur.
Current player Josh Gorges also met the teens after the game, and was glad he did.
"Seeing the smiles on the kids' faces is just great," said Gorges.
Gorges's brother has a mental illness, and he hopes to use his star power to shine a light on a problem that affects one in five Canadians.
Throughout the month of February other Canadian NHL teams will be staging events to get people discussing mental illness and to eliminate the taboo that often ends conversations.
Sylvie Lauzon of Les Petits Tresors knows how isolating discussing mental illness can be, and she was very glad her wards were able to enjoy the game -- as a group.
"When you're suffering from a mental illness you slow start to stay alone, you get isolated and being here tonight being here in a group, feeling that they're part of something pleasurable is really something nice."