Mental illness hits close to home for Nick Paul. The OHL Battalion forward, and World Junior player, lost a close friend to suicide during high school, motivating him to help others. The OHL as a whole was also devastated by the death of Terry Trafford, a 20-year-old Saginaw Spirit player, who committed suicide in March, 2014.
When 10 to 20 per cent of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness, we know this also affects families and children here in the North Bay area. Without local care, families in the North often have to travel for hours to access the care their children need. This is one reason why Paul is taking action. Paul created a program called Points for Paul, with the North Bay Regional Health Centre Foundation (NBRHC) to raise both money and awareness for youth in need.
Since opening in April 2014, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at NBRHC has helped over 100 children – more than double the number of children than the previous year – as a result of having this care provided closer to home.
“Points for Paul is making a difference for youth,” says Paul. “I want our fans and followers to celebrate with us each time I score a point by making a donation to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at the North Bay Regional Health Centre,” he says.
This new unit serves the Temiskaming, Parry Sound, Muskoka and Nipissing districts, a region that is home to over 42,000 children.“This is about more than just raising awareness. I want to give back, this is about making an impact on the lives of others,” says Paul.
Local North Bay auto repair shop, McWeeny’s Service Centre, has added energy to this initiative; pledging to donate $5 every time Paul scores a point. “It’s really great what Nick Paul is doing for our community,” says owner, Phil McWeeney. “North Bay is a hockey town and having an advocate like him really helps to breakdown the stigma around mental illness.”
McWeeney continues to challenge others to meet or beat their contributions. “By supporting Points for Paul, we can all help end stigma and help children in our community struggling with mental illness.”
To learn more about Points for Paul, or to make a donation, visit the campaign page!
To learn more about the Northern Bay Regional Health Centre Foundation please visit their charity profile page >>>