The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario are teaming up to raise awareness about the importance of mental health during upcoming OHL games throughout the month of February. The awareness campaign is part of the ongoing commitment by OHL clubs and local CMHA Ontario Branches to implement Talk Today. Launched in October 2014, Talk Today is a partnership between the OHL and CMHA that provides mental health support to players and raises awareness about mental health and suicide throughout OHL communities.
This year, all 20 OHL teams will host a Talk Today awareness game in February with the support of their local CMHA Ontario Branch. Each game will feature a CMHA kiosk where fans can get more information about Talk Today and the programs and services offered by the Branches. There will also be public address and video announcements addressing the importance of positive mental health.
2016 OHL and CMHA Game Night Schedule:
February 3 at Sarnia Sting with CMHA Lambton Kent
February 4 at Peterborough Petes with CMHA Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge
February 6 at Saginaw Spirit with CMHA Windsor-Essex County
February 7 at London Knights with CMHA Middlesex
February 10 at Erie Otters with CMHA Niagara
February 12 at Guelph Storm with CMHA Waterloo-Wellington-Dufferin
February 19 at Sudbury Wolves with CMHA Sudbury-Manitoulin
February 20 at Barrie Colts with CMHA Simcoe County
February 20 at Ottawa 67’s with CMHA Ottawa
February 21 at North Bay Battalion with CMHA Nipissing
February 23 at Kitchener Rangers with CMHA Waterloo-Wellington-Dufferin
February 24 at Oshawa Generals with CMHA Durham
February 24 at Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds with CMHA Sault Ste. Marie
February 25 at Windsor Spitfires with CMHA Windsor-Essex County
February 26 at Flint Firebirds with CMHA Windsor-Essex County
February 26 at Mississauga Steelheads with CMHA Peel
February 27 at Owen Sound Attack with CMHA Grey Bruce
February 28 at Kingston Frontenacs with CMHA Kingston
February 28 at Hamilton Bulldogs with CMHA Hamilton
February 28 at Niagara IceDogs with CMHA Niagara
A key piece of the Talk Today program has been to educate players about mental health and suicide. Players on all 20 OHL teams have received mental health training specific to suicide awareness called safeTALK. This training helps teach individuals the importance of talking about mental health, how to acknowledge signs of suicide, seek help when they’re in need of support, and connect others in need of support to suicide first aid resources.
Since the inception of Talk Today, CMHA Ontario Branches have trained 611 players, 79 coaches and 158 billet parents in safeTALK. Each team is also linked to a CMHA Mental Health Coach, who can provide support and mental health resources to individuals in need. In April, 2015, the league also expanded the partnership with CMHA Ontario to include a mental health awareness seminar as part of the OHL/OHF Under-15 Program of Excellence.
Talk Today is a mandatory program that works in conjunction with the OHL’s other league programs in areas such as drug awareness, health and safety education, and has become an important piece of the league’s ‘Players First’ guide.
For more information about upcoming OHL and CMHA game nights please contact OHL clubs or the local CMHA Ontario Branch.
Help us spread the word about mental health! Keep the conversation going online using #TalkToday.
For more information please visit http://ontario.cmha.ca.