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Snowboarder, Mercedes Nicoll raises mental health awareness and funds with Jack.org
Snowboarder, Mercedes Nicoll raises mental health awareness and funds with Jack.org

Snowboarder, Mercedes Nicoll raises mental health awareness and funds with Jack.org

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Canadian Olympian joins mental health advocates in Whistler, BC.

Mercedes Nicoll is a Canadian Olympic snowboarder, specializing in the halfpipe. In December 2018, Mercedes joined our Jack.org mental health advocates at Whistler Blackbomb Ski Resort to raise a whole lot of awareness and funds! $5,503 to be exact! 

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Q. How do you take care of your mental health? 

There are a few ways I try to take care of myself. There isn't one magical fix! I've learned over the years with going through ups and downs that I need activity in my life. If I'm not active, at least doing one sport a day, it will affect not only my mental health, but my sleep and the next days to come. 

On off days, I sometimes have a hard time getting out of bed realizing I may not have set a plan for the next day. I find if I can give myself one goal or something to achieve in the day, it gives me a good reason to start the day and get out of bed. Knowing myself more and more, I also know that I need to surround myself with positive people and my friends. They are the key to staying happy. 
 

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Q. What advice would you give to young athletes who may be suffering with their mental health?

We are all going through life one step at a time. There are bound to be some wobbles and crashes along the way. It happens to the best of us. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. If you're bold enough to share your issues with others, you'll find that you're not alone out there!

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Q. Can you explain in your own words why, as an athlete, mental fitness is equally as important as physical fitness?

Mentally, we push through our fears and limits to be the best we can be. If you're not in the best mental fitness, your outcomes will not match your drive and you'll likely have less passion for pushing yourself to be your best. 

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Q. You’ve opened up about your snowboarding injury and how it took you years to recover. Mentally, how were you able to get through this stage in your life? Can you tell us some of the things you said to yourself in moments where you felt like giving up?

To be an elite athlete, we are embedded with stubbornness, drive and passion for our sport. I was stubbornly positive throughout, knowing that I would get back to snowboarding someway, somehow. I learned a lot about myself in that time and all that mattered to me was getting sports back in my life. I wanted to make every effort to make that happen. 

I had lost my personality and I was depressed. I didn't know I was depressed, however, until I came out the other side of it. When I got my personality back after almost two years, I was able to understand that the and flatness of life was depression. I'm now able to understand when things start to go dark and I surround myself with things I know that I need; friends, sports and small goals.

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Q. Can you give us an example as to how you have tried to remove stigma and discrimination from mental health?

I have a platform as an athlete and if I can use that to help change a person's life for the better, then I will. I would have to say being open and sharing my story while letting others know that they're not alone is how I've started to help remove the stigma and discrimination from mental health.

Mental health is something that people can't see. Therefore, some have a hard time understanding what someone dealing with a mental health issue could be going through. I've found through telling my story, that I've helped open others eyes to a world they have a hard time seeing.  Effective storytelling can significantly change a person's perspective.

I have worked with the Canadian Olympic Committee, tedX, RBC, Jack.org and others to share my story.

Life isn't easy, so the more we share and understand that we are not alone in dealing with mental health issues, the more accepting everyone will be.


Q. What does your mental health revolution look like? 

I see the world being a more accepting place, with the ability for everyone to listen, share and understand with full hearts.