Toques on top: Western supports mental health

Western Mustangs women's lacrosse team sports Bell Let's Talk toques in support of mental wellness. January, 2017

About 1,000 student athletes at Western University are taking a stand for mental health, a statement as bold as the hats on their heads. All this week, varsity athletes have been wearing blue toques as part of a mental health campaign with partners Bell Let’s Talk and 53 universities across Canada’s four university sports conferences.

“People you know, who may have a very tough exterior, may be suffering without anyone knowing about it. It’s important to have that conversation,” said Jedson Tavernier, a guard on the Mustangs men’s basketball team who is featured on a national video with other university athletes at

Western’s hat-wearing ambassadors have been posting images of themselves on social media and fielding students’ questions in advance of Bell Let’s Talk Day on Wednesday – when the Mustangs men’s hockey team plays against Windsor at Thompson Arena at 7 p.m. There, fans will be able to write messages of struggles and support on large speech bubbles that will be posted to social media.

Western’s feeds on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter will be humming Wednesday with event updates, images and interactive content. Throughout the day, students will also be dropping by the Wellness Education Centre to learn and share tips and strategies for mental health. The centre, which opened in October, 2016, offers personalized resources for health and wellness on campus and in the London community. Its services include wellness education, sexual violence prevention and dietician services.

Western has made a network of supports a priority as it encourages mental wellbeing among students, staff and faculty. Those conversations are also highlighted in four online audio interviews with Western experts who discuss the pressures of adolescence; myths about mental health; Western’s outreach to London families; and wellness resources available on campus. Those interviews can be found here:

On Wednesday Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health programs for each text/call made through its network and for every social-media post using the #BellLetsTalk hashtag.

 MEDIA CONTACT: Deb (Van Brenk) Flaherty, Media Relations Officer, Western University, 519-661-2111 x85165, or on mobile at 519-318-0657 and


Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

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Western Mustangs women's lacrosse team sports Bell Let's Talk toques in support of mental wellness. January, 2017