In today's society, as the conversation surrounding mental health continues to grow, and the need for those discussions becomes more important, it's easy to realize that mental illness at some point can affect anybody and everybody.
It doesn't discriminate against age or gender. It doesn't matter if you're a professional hockey player in the National Hockey League, or a junior hockey player trying to make it.
Just ask 13-year NHL defenseman Paul Martin, who has seen it dealt with firsthand amongst family, friends and teammates.
It's why Martin decided to create the Shine a Ligh7 Foundation to help provide funds to other non-profit organizations that help combat mental illnesses, depression and bullying.
"(Depression) has been something where people say, 'toughen up.' You don't want someone to feel sorry for you, but I think it's something we need to bring attention to," said Martin, who is preparing to host the second annual Shine a Ligh7 charity event on Aug. 17. "Hockey's definitely seen its share of some mental health issues, so it's about changing the attitude around that and letting people know it's OK to get help in the battle."
Shine a Ligh7 (which derives its name from a lyric in the Rolling Stones' "Shine a Light" song and Martin's No. 7 NHL jersey) not only attempts to help adults, but sets a primary focus on helping children.
DATE: Friday, August 17, 2018
TIMES: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sponsorship & VIP ticket purchasers
7:00 p.m. doors open for General Admission
LOCATION: First Avenue, 701 N. 1st Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403
EVENT: Sponsorship/VIP/Celebrity meet & greet, food, drink, live & silent auction, live music
MESSAGE: Raising awareness for anti-bullying, suicide prevention, and to help end the stigma attached with mental illnesses
"My sister is a social worker over at Domestic Abuse Project, which is one of our beneficiaries, and I see what she deals with with these kids whether it be neglect, trauma or abuse," said Martin. "The Washburn Center for Children and Confidence Learning Center are the other two beneficiaries, and what they do is they give these kids the tools and the support to know that they can handle things. They give them at least somebody that they can trust because sometimes it doesn’t come from the people at home where it should come from."
In addition to music, food and celebrity appearances at this year's Shine a Ligh7 charity event, Martin said ticket holders will hear testimonials from kids who have been directly effected and impacted by those beneficiaries, and ultimately by Shine a Ligh7.
And while Martin said he would love to surpass the more than $100,000 raised at last year's inaugural charity event, he's more looking forward to raising awareness for the Foundation, and everyone they help along the way.
"I think the mental health umbrella is so big right now," Martin said. "I just want people to know there's help."