‘Changing the Game’ on mental health in sports: Former Canadian Olympian Silken Laumann to speak to York U athletes about pressures of competition


TORONTO, Tuesday October 1, 2019 –When mental health is your opponent as a young athlete, it can change the game.   Mental Health Awareness Week begins October 6 and it is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.

Four-time Olympian and elite athlete Silken Laumann knows firsthand about the link between good mental health and physical health.  As reigning world champion in 1992, Silken fought back from a devastating rowing accident to win a bronze medal in the Summer Olympics in Barcelona.  She overcame physical adversity and personal challenges and today speaks candidly about the importance of nurturing mental health resilience in young people.

Silken Laumann

“I speak openly about my experiences with depression because this is a part of my life and I feel no shame or embarrassment about struggling,” says Laumann. “We know one in four Canadians will struggle with a mental illness in their lifetime so we need to start talking openly and honestly about our experiences. This helps other people open up and ask for help as well as educating people who don’t struggle about how they can support their friends, employees and family members who may be struggling.”

On October 2, Laumann will speak to Faculty of Health students and York athletes about the pressures of competition, preparing mentally for competitions and how students can stay mentally fit while balancing the challenges of school.

Who: Silken Laumann meets and delivers talk with York U students

When: Wednesday October 2 at 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Where: Tait Mackenzie Centre, York University Keele Campus, 1 Thompson Rd, North York, ON M3J 1P3. See MAP.

Laumann is available for interviews after meeting with the students.

She will also be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Dr. Eric Jackman Lecture and 10th anniversary of the York University Psychology Clinic from 4:30 to 6:30 on Wednesday, Oct. 2. The Hon. Michael Kirby, retired Senator and founding Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada will also speak. For more details, click here.

York University champions new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni.

York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

To attend please contact: Anjum Nayyar, York University Media Relations, 437-242-1547, anayyar@yorku.ca

or Vanessa Thompson, York University Media Relations, 647-654-9452, vthomps@yorku.ca