A decorated Canadian Olympian is using her platform to raise awareness about mental health.

Silken Laumann actively participates in the conversation that surrounds mental health, encouraging people to share their stories and reach out for help, using #BellLetsTalk.

“Storytelling is powerful,” she said. “Sharing our stories liberates us personally, and also gives strength to those who are struggling.”

The four-time Olympian first shared her experience with depression and anxiety in 2014, and says she stayed silent for so long out of fear for what people might think.

“A lot of times people just need to share their story,” she said. “But the most important thing, and the first thing, is authentically listening.”

Laumann is active on social media, and participates in mental health initiatives, including Bell Let’s Talk, saying it’s important for people to participate in the conversations that are sparking change.

She said she also has plans to take the conversation further, and has created a story-sharing platform to empower and connect Canadians.

There are many Vancouver Island resources for those seeking help with mental health issues.

The Archie Courtnall Centre at the Royal Jubilee Hospital is one of them. The centre was named after the late father of former NHLers Russ and Geoff Courtnall and their brother Bruce. The brothers have become committed to the cause after their father died by suicide, losing his fight against mental illness.

"With the ability to give back to Victoria, beacause it gave us so much, we thought what a better way than to get involved with mental health," said Bruce Courtnall. "What's nice is we've heard from so many that it's helped their family members or friends and saved lives, and that to us has meant everything."

As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, Bell Let's Talk said it recorded more than 132-million interactions, raising more than $6.5-million for mental health initiatives.

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