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ARLINGTON, Va., April 10, 2013 -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has selected the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League (NHL) to receive one of its highest honors for leadership in raising public awareness of mental illness.
NAMI's Rona and Ken Purdy Award is presented annually to an individual or group who have made a major contribution to reducing stigma associated with mental illness and promoting treatment.
With the NHL's support and the participation of the other six Canadian teams in the league, the Canucks launched the month-long Hockey Talks: Building Mental Health Awareness campaign that generated public dialogue about mental illness in February 2013.
"The Canucks have set an outstanding precedent in the sports world for team devotion to mental health education as a public service," said NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "Mental illness does not discriminate. It can strike anyone at any time."
"NAMI hopes recognition of the Canucks' leadership will inspire more NHL teams, other sports leagues and fans everywhere to speak out and encourage people to get help when they need it."
"It is a great honor to be recognized for the organization's initiative and dedication to raising awareness about mental health and wellness," said TC Carling, Vice President, Communications & Community Partnerships, Canucks Sports & Entertainment. "We have dedicated ourselves in carrying on the legacy of our friend and former player Rick Rypien and his desire to help others suffering from mental illness. We hope this recognition will bring further attention to mental health education and help alleviate stigma often associated with the disease so that individuals can feel at ease in asking for help."
NAMI also commended the NHL for its support and the participation of the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets.
The Purdy Award is named in honor of the founders of NAMI Campaign to End Discrimination which launched the movement in the 1990s for mental health insurance parity. NAMI will present the award at its national convention in San Antonio, June 27-30.
NAMI is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States dedicated to building better lives for individuals and families affected by mental illness.
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