A new partnership launched this week between Jr. A hockey leagues and Canadian Mental Health Associations in the Maritimes, eastern and Northern Ontario, and Manitoba will lead to mental health awareness and suicide prevention training to nearly 1,000 players this season through CMHA’s Talk Today program.
With generous support from the NHL Foundation, local CMHAs announced Talk Today will be continued in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL) and implemented in the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL), Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) in 2019-20.
Created in 2014 through a partnership between CMHA Ontario and the Ontario Hockey League, Talk Today is one of the most comprehensive mental health programs for amateur sports in Canada. Now offered by more than 50 CMHAs nationwide, Talk Today has four key elements from which these four leagues will benefit:
- Mandatory evidence-based mental health and suicide awareness workshops for athletes that enable them to not only recognize when a teammate, classmate, friend or family member may be struggling, but gives them tools to speak openly about suicide and assist in getting individuals support.
- A designated CMHA Mental Health Coach is connected to each team so they can help in case someone with the club is struggling or seeking mental health information or services.
- Club-hosted Talk Today game days with related social media activities to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental health and addictions issues in their communities.
- A club Mental Health Champion who works with CMHA personnel to help implement the training and awareness activities.
Interest in the announcement was widespread, earning significant media coverage and interactions on social media, with close to one million impressions by more than 150,000 users on the Twitter hashtag #TalkToday.
This Talk Today expansion into these leagues is the first phase of a broader partnership between the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), its member leagues, and local and provincial CMHAs across Canada. The CJHL and CMHAs will work toward supporting the remaining leagues within the Canadian Junior Hockey League with Talk Today over the next two years.