Talking About Mental Health

Olympian Clara Hughes at St. Patrick's High School for Clara's Big Ride. March 19, 2014. (Photo by Chelsea Vella)

Six-time Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes shared her story of mental illness with high school students at St. Patrick’s Wednesday morning.

Hughes says she grew up in a volatile family environment with an alcoholic father, and at a young age began abusing alcohol and drugs herself.

She found sports to be her outlet and encouraged students to pursue something they are passionate about. However, in showing her Olympic medals to the students, she admitting even winning them didn’t quell her depression.

She got help and told students to keep the conversation about mental health going, so that others will do the same.

For grade 12 student Emma McCann, the message was loud and clear.

Before climbing on her bike to cycle to London, Hughes said Sarnia get’s it.

Sarnia was the fifth stop for Clara’s Big Ride, a 12,000 km journey to raising awareness for mental health and hoping to end the stigma.

Hughes is expected to complete her ride in Ottawa on Canada Day.