Canucks winger Tyler Motte shares mental health story

Jan 15 2020, 5:24 pm

Ahead of the seventh annual “Hockey Talks” game on Thursday, Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Motte has decided to open up about his mental health journey.

In a video posted to the Canucks’ social media channels, Motte revealed that he has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression — an act few professional hockey players felt comfortable doing not long ago.

“For me, just accepting and saying out loud that I was diagnosed with depression and had a mental health issue, that was the first weight off my shoulders,” said Motte.

Here’s the full video:

The 24-year-old, who made the jump from the NCAA to the AHL in 2016, says he began suffering symptoms during his second year of pro hockey.

The St. Clair, Michigan, product says he had trouble finding the energy to get out of bed at times, and that his mental health issues built up slowly over time. His girlfriend pushed him to get help, which he eventually did from a psychologist.

“I’ve come to accept that it’s something I’ll deal with the rest of my life, but I still have the ability to influence it,” said Motte, adding that he meets with the team’s mental health skills coach, in addition to seeking outside counselling.

“The hardest part for me was coming to accept it, because I didn’t want to be treated differently or looked at differently. But at the same time, sometimes having those around you know and understand can help you push through.”

Motte admitted that he was a little nervous to share his story, but he wanted to help others.

The Hockey Talks mental health awareness initiative began in 2013, following the tragic death of Rick Rypien in 2011. Wes Rypien (Rick’s brother) and son Luke will be part of Thursday’s ceremonial puck drop.

The Canucks are dedicating the game against the Arizona Coyotes to conversations about mental health and are offering fans the opportunity to get involved through social media.

Fifteen NHL teams (including all seven located in Canada) are dedicating one game night from January 5 to March 11 to bring awareness to mental health, provide information from experts, and alleviate some of the misconceptions and stigma associated with mental illness.

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