Nick Paul, a Canadian professional ice hockey player and member of the Royal Ottawa Young Professionals Network (ROYPN), has made it his life's work to raise awareness for mental health.
While in high school, Paul tragically lost a close friend to suicide, which inspired him to advocate for the importance of meaningful conversations surrounding mental health. He launched his first 'Points by Paul' campaign when he was in playing for the Ontario Hockey League and donated to a mental health charity for every point he scored.
As he rose through the hockey levels, the former Ottawa Senator continued the 'Points by Paul' campaign and chose to support youth mental health initiatives at The Royal. Now even from Florida, where he plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Paul remains motivated by the desire to start important conversations about mental health.
Paul advised that you can help by being approachable, open-minded, knowledgeable about mental health, and supportive of others. He thinks the real goal is to strike up a conversation.
Paul places a high premium on mental wellness. "I had ups and downs on my way to the NHL. Several mistakes, and then getting back on the horse," he remarked. "I made the biggest improvement to my job by looking after my mental health. I knew I was under much pressure, holding many things inside and putting pressure on my emotions and myself. It really helped me when I started talking about myself and being honest.”
Paul has established himself as a role model for many people through his campaigns and advocacy work, encouraging others to speak up and get treatment for their mental health when needed.