Partnership with Canadian Mental Health Association produces results in first months
More than 180 Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL) players received suicide- awareness training as part of the inaugural season of Talk Today, a partnership with local Canadian Mental Health
Association (CMHA) branches. The partnership was launched mid-season – in December 2015 – and in just four short months, 183 players have taken safeTALK, a three-hour suicide-awareness program. SafeTALK is an accredited training suitable for anyone older than 15 to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to first-aid resources. Thirteen coaches across the league have also taken part.
“We at the NOJHL cannot begin to express our sincere appreciation enough towards the tremendous efforts the staff of the Canadian Mental Health Association have provided our league in their support of this extremely worthwhile cause,” NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca said. “The steadfast commitment, professionalism and understanding of the CMHA in offering our players a deeper understanding and avenues to turn towards in dealing with mental health cannot be respected enough.”
The Talk Today program consists of several components including suicide-awareness workshops, establishment of CMHA Mental Health Coaches, NOJHL Mental Health Champions and Talk Today game-day awareness events.
At the heart of Talk Today is the relationship between NOJHL clubs and their local CMHA branch. This year, a CMHA Mental Health Coach served as a liaison for each team and was available to provide mental health resources, referrals to community mental health and addictions support or mental health crisis intervention services.
Talk Today originally launched in October 2014 as a partnership between the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), CMHA Ontario and local CMHA branches. The NOJHL is just the second hockey league in Ontario to implement Talk Today.
“Partnering with the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League allows us to promote positive mental health with a key audience as boys and young men are typically hard to reach,” CMHA Ontario CEO Camille Quenneville said.
“We’re so pleased this league and its players are taking mental health – such an important subject – so seriously.”