Social media was buzzing over the latest Talk Today announcement. In total, the hashtags #TalkToday and #ParlonsEN reached 4.8 million unique followers on twitter, with 3.8 million overall impressions within 48 hours.
The announcement, made on May 24 at the CHL’s national championship tournament, the Memorial Cup, marks the first step towards linking each of the 60 major junior teams with a local CMHA branch to ensure every player has access to the mental health supports and resources. All 22 teams in the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the 18 teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) are participating to create a suicide-safe network within their respective leagues and clubs.
This mirrors the partnership between CMHA Ontario the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), which just completed its second season after being established in October 2014.
The May 24 announcement was made by OHL commissioner David Branch, WHL commissioner Ron Robison, QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau and CMHA Ontario CEO Camille Quenneville.
“Young people can face tremendous stress and pressure and become susceptible to mental health challenges just like everyone else. Talk Today will provide education about mental health and suicide and encourage players and team staff to speak openly about these serious issues,” Quenneville said.
The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL) and four local branches of CMHA in Ontario also launched Talk Today last December to help the league’s players, and the individuals that support them, identify mental health issues and address suicide.
The program also recently expanded to student athletes, with CMHA Kenora Branch and Kenora Catholic District School Board (KCDSB) collaborating on a pilot project to provide 75 high school student athletes with suicide prevention and mental health awareness training.
For more information, check out the video of the announcement below.