Oil Barons team up to support mental health by rocking mullets

By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

Hockey players of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons joined with representatives for the Canadian Mental Health Association at Chatter’s Hair Salon on March 1. The players will be donning mullet-cut hairstyles for the March Mullets campaign. Supplied photo.

Hockey players of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons joined with representatives for the Canadian Mental Health Association at Chatter’s Hair Salon on March 1. The players will be donning mullet-cut hairstyles for the March Mullets campaign. Supplied photo.

Local players from the Fort McMurray Oil Barons team joined with representatives of Canadian Mental Health Association of Wood Buffalo (CMHA) to launch the March Mullets for Mental Health campaign at Chatters Hair Salon on March 1.

“Mental illnesses are very common, but people still live alone with fear of shame and judgement,” said Emma Murray, Fund Development & Event Coordinator of the local CMHA. “The Fort McMurray Oil Barons are not only leaders in the community, but role models to many fans – young and old. Having players participate during March Mullets by cutting their hair into a mullet and talk about mental health, really helps break down barriers.”

A mullet is a hairstyle, where the hair is cut short at the front and sides, and left long in the back. According to the CMHA, March Mullets originated at the association’s Simcoe County Branch in Barrie, Ont. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness and remove the stigma associated to mental illness.

“Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians. Twenty per cent of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime,” said Murray. “March Mullets is a really fun event where we are hoping to engage the youth to talk more about why mental health matters.”

“Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians. Twenty per cent of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime,” said Murray. “March Mullets is a really fun event where we are hoping to engage the youth to talk more about why mental health matters.”

Murray said the Oil Barons have a grand existing platform to reach out to the community and hopes this campaign will encourage others to speak out.

“(It) can make a huge difference to those watching. Perhaps a fan is living with a mental illness, but hasn’t reached out for support,” she said. “Seeing role models like the Oil Barons talk about why mental health is so important will allow individuals to have a sense of relief that they are not alone.”

For residents interested in participating, they are encouraged to create a profile on the CMHA of Wood Buffalo’s team page. Go to www.marchmullets.org, click on “Become A Fundraiser” and follow the steps. Those who are not willing to brave a new hairdo can purchase a Mullet-On-The-Go (MOTG) headband at the CMHA office.

Everyone can follow local participants and receive campaign updates on social media by checking out the CMHA of Wood Buffalo’s handle: @CMHAWB on Twitter and Instagram, as well as their Facebook page.

“We offer many different peer and self-help workshops. However, if an individual still may not have the courage (to seek help), that is okay.”

Murray explained it’s important to continue the conversation on mental health throughout the month of March and every day of the year. And for those seeking help, there are many different community programs available.

“We are a non-profit organization with a no-wait list for new clients to see and speak to the Consumer advocate,” she said. “We offer many different peer and self-help workshops. However, if an individual still may not have the courage (to seek help), that is okay. Perhaps there is a trusted family member, friend or colleague that they can reach out to for support. Talking about your mental health and concerns might just allow that much needed sigh of relief. You are not alone. You are loved. Recovery is possible.”

To learn more, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association of Wood Buffalo at 10019 MacDonald Avenue, phone the office at 780-743-1053 or go online to www.woodbuffalo.cmha.ca

-Connect Weekly-