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Courage to Come Back: Mental Health recipient 'stickhandles' through stigma

Last Updated Jul 2, 2020 at 7:48 am PST

Coast Mental Health has announced July as the Courage to Come Back Month. Corey Hirsch is the first person to be celebrated this month. (Courtesy Coast Mental Health)

Vancouver (NEWS 1130) – He was supposed to be on top of the world. Instead, his world was falling apart. In 1994, Corey Hirsch was living his childhood dream. He had just backstopped Team Canada to a Silver medal at the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. Then, he got to sip from the Stanley Cup as a member of the New York Rangers. However, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder filled his mind with thoughts of suicide.

“I always promised myself, that if I got better, I would tell my story and try to help others. Because when I was looking to get better, I found nothing.”

It took Hirsch two decades, but share his story he did, in a now famous article for the website, The Players Tribune.

“Twenty years ago, you didn’t talk about it, it was swept under the rug, you know. Now, we have great medications, we’ve got therapies, we’ve got great people willing to help. There’s no reason as to why you can’t get help.”

Listen to John Ackermann’s full interview with Corey Hirsch:

Hirsch is the 2020 recipient of the Courage to Come Back award in the category of Mental Health. These days, Canucks fans know him best as the colour analyst on the team’s play-by-play broadcasts on Sportsnet 650. However, Hirsch is most proud of his mental health advocacy.

“Any NHL thing, any win I ever got, all that is secondary to the work that I do now,” he says.

“Mental health affects us all. It doesn’t discriminate. We need to educate our youth so that this next generation can end the stigma.”

NEWS 1130 is a proud sponsor of Coast Mental Health’s Courage to Come Back Awards, one of the largest fundraising events of its kind in Western Canada. COVID-19 has drastically impacted funding for Coast Mental Health and many services have been forced to close down to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This year, instead of a singular event, Coast Mental Health is dedicating the month of July to Courage and the five extraordinary recipients who have overcome adversity to give back to their community. Every Thursday in July, NEWS 1130 will profile a recipient on-air and online. For more information or to make a donation, please visit couragetocomeback.ca.