'Just don't suffer in silence': Humboldt Broncos bus crash survivor speaks out about mental health
HALIFAX -- A survivor from the Humboldt Broncos bus crash recently spoke to students in Nova Scotia about the importance of mental health.
It was April 6, 2018 when 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team died after their bus collided with a semi-trailer truck near Armley, Saskatchewan. The bus was carrying the team to a semifinal game they were supposed to play the evening of the crash.
Tyler Smith was a member of the Humboldt Broncos. He says his life has been a rollercoaster since that life-changing evening.
"I probably didn't take care of my mental health until about half a year after the accident. I was definitely in a state of suffering in silence," said Tyler.
Soon after addressing his own mental health needs, Tyler started sharing his story with others. He says sharing his message is an important step in his own healing process.
"Me sharing my story has been somewhat therapeutic in a sense," said Tyler. "It's a learning curve and there's a lot of growth that's been involved," explained Tyler.
Lynn Levatte teaches within the Bachelor of Education program at Cape Breton University. Students in her class had the privilege to have a Zoom meeting with Tyler.
"The students really enjoyed listening to Tyler, his platform on mental health and youth," said Levatte.
Levatte says the Zoom meeting was all part of a project to help aspiring teachers learn more about youth mental health, with a focus on how they might offer more resources in the classroom.
"Kids are in school six hours a day and educators are with students six hours a day," said Levatte. "So, it would become an opportunity to become aware and to learn about mental health, and about how it's possible to support students."
Graham Basque is a member of Membertou's Youth Chief and Council, and plays for his school's hockey team.
Not only does Graham have plenty of platforms to share Tyler's important message, he says he can also relate.
"It's been my escape, hockey," said Basque. "So, I couldn't imagine what I'd do if that happened to me because my hockey teammates are my family."
Tyler says when it comes to his own mental health, there are still good days and bad.
He says there are so many people who need help, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Just don't suffer in silence," said Tyler. "The people around you are there for you and want to listen."
A mental health message he's hoping to share with as many as he can reach.