‘Its OK Not to be OK:’ Premera Blue Cross Partners with Seattle Kraken to Raise Awareness About Mental Health

New campaign focuses on normalizing seeking care for mental health

Mountlake Terrace, Wash., Jan. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Premera Blue Cross, the official health plan of the Seattle Kraken, is partnering with the NHL hockey team to destigmatize issues around mental health, and to encourage people to seek care.

In the United States, 1 in 5 Americans struggle with mental health issues; however, over half of adults do not receive treatment. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, eight in 10 workers say shame and stigma prevent them from seeking treatment for a mental health condition.

Premera is launching a new campaign this month, which will feature Kraken players sharing their real-life experiences with mental health and how they’ve worked to normalize that mental health is just as important as physical health. The campaign will be featured on Hockey Talks, an annual initiative where NHL hockey clubs raise awareness about mental health and offer fans the opportunity to get involved through social media.

“Stigma plays a large role in why people who struggle with behavioral health issues don’t seek the care they need,” said Jim Havens, chief communications and marketing officer for Premera. “So often our friends, families and loved ones suffer in silence. Through our campaign, we’re seeking to share that it is OK not to be OK, and showing that people are not alone.”

The campaign introduces a new TV spot called “Skate Marks,” which captures an intense workout from an isolated hockey player. The lone player represents the 1 in 5 Americans who are affected by mental health, while the marks from his skates reveal one of the most important first steps in seeking care – asking for help. The spot will begin airing in mid-January and throughout the rest of the NHL regular season. There will be additional placements in the Winter Olympics.

The campaign features a series of videos from Kraken players, Riley Sheahan, Brandon Tanev, Chris Driedger and Haydn Fleury, discussing issues around mental health, including stigma, reaching out and how to seek help. Fans are encouraged to share personal messages and messages of support to create an open dialogue and awareness about mental health, using the #HockeyTalks. The stories will be shared across Premera’s and the Kraken’s social channels as well.

“We’re proud to play a part in this important conversation to end the stigmatization of mental health,” said Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Seattle Kraken. “Our players have shared stories about their own mental health journeys, and I hope they can be a source to help change our communities for the better.”

Premera is also sponsoring the Kraken’s Jan. 15th game, which is Hockey Talks Mental Health Awareness Night, During the game, 18,000 Kraken flags will be distributed, 80 percent being teal, and 20 percent being white. The colors represent the 1 in 5 Americans who are impacted by mental health issues. During the game, a video from Sheahan will discuss his mental health journey. Sheahan co-hosts a podcast called “Speak Your Mind,” which spreads awareness about mental health and works to help people feel more comfortable about speaking up about personal issues.  

Following Sheahan’s message, fans will be asked to waive the white flags, which will signify the number of people who face mental health challenges.

To find more information about addressing mental health and to find resource for care, visit www.Premera.com/Hockeytalks.

About Premera Blue Cross
Premera Blue Cross, a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to more than 2.5 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies. For more information, visit www.premera.com.


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