Cheryl Bernard competed on the Canadian women’s curling team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She felt a huge amount of pressure to win the gold medal while competing at home and as the Skip, she had the last rock to take the gold. She missed the shot.
The team won the silver, a huge achievement, but Cheryl was devastated at not winning gold and says she avoided leaving the house for almost 2 months after that loss. She had seen a sports psychologist during her career and in preparation for the Vancouver Olympics and she turned to professional help again following Vancouver. Her sports psychologist, her family and her team helped her face the disappointment and move forward in her life.
Mental health and stigma
From her own experiences, Cheryl knows the importance of mental health supports during the difficult periods in life and recognizes that the last 18 months have been particularly challenging for all of us.
“I think the mental health fallout from the events in the last 18 months will be worse than anyone can imagine,” Cheryl said. “Isolation, financial difficulties, substance abuse, job loss, relationship difficulties and so much more will contribute to a mental health epidemic – so the awareness of Lend An Ear is critical.”Cheryl shared that her family has dealt with depression: “My gramma, mom, aunt, brother and some close friends have all dealt with it in varying degrees.”
When her grandma was alive, depression was considered a taboo topic, something you shouldn’t talk about. Cheryl understands now just how powerful talking can be.
[edgtf_blockquote text=””Talking about it takes the stigma away, people can feel like they aren’t alone, they can seek help and our society as a whole can heal and mend.”” title_tag=”h2″ width=””]
“Talking about it takes the stigma away, people can feel like they aren’t alone, they can seek help and our society as a whole can heal and mend.”
Lend An Ear
As a keynote speaker at Lend An Ear on September 23, Cheryl will delve further into this topic, exploring the stigma that still exists, her own experience with mental health issues and how she has healed and learned to be kinder to herself.
She says that at age 55 she is getting better at cultivating a self-care and self-love practice.
“I am not so hard on myself for imperfections anymore, I am kind to myself and understand that I won’t always get it right, but as long as my intentions are good, its okay,” Cheryl said. “I try to treat myself like I treat my friends. I am getting slightly better at balance, and try to enjoy the moments in life and be present with my husband, my mom and my friends – they matter to me and I want them to always feel that.”
Watch a video message from Cheryl!
Cheryl says that Distress Centre’s crisis services play a key role in building healthy communities.
“We all live in this country and building healthy communities is a critical part of a healthy nation. That starts with our people right here in Calgary. If Distress Centre can save one parent, friend, teen or child because they were available to someone in need, we can change the fabric of our communities and guarantee that no one is left without a place to turn in a time of crisis.”
We can’t wait to see Cheryl at Lend An Ear on September 23! There’s still time to buy tickets. Purchase a VIP upgrade ticket before Friday, September 17 at 4pm to attend a special virtual meet and greet with Cheryl.
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