There were two successful developments recently as part of the ongoing Talk Today initiative of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
When the Oshawa Generals faced off against the Mississauga Steelheads on March 14, 2015, CMHA Durham branch was there to cheer them on. In the concourse area of Oshawa’s General Motors Centre, CMHA Durham staff staffed a booth, providing fans with brochures and information about Talk Today and mental health supports in the area.
The night was a success on and off the ice. Not only did the Generals win 6-1, setting a record for most wins and points in a season, but also CMHA Durham drew-in dozens of fans to their booth. This was in no small part thanks to two announcements made during the game about Talk Today.
Less than a week after CMHA Oshawa’s successful game night, CMHA Ontario again teamed up with the OHL. This time, CMHA Ontario was given prominence at the OHL Cup, a season-ending tournament in Toronto that draws thousands of fans to watch the province’s top 20 minor midget teams.
The fans, players (who are 15-16) and their families were exposed to in-game announcements about Talk Today and mental health materials at the CMHA Ontario booth.
Having the ability to reach young people and their families in these settings is one of the ancillary benefits of teaming up with the OHL on our Talk Today. Launched in the fall of 2014, the program is designed to reduce the stigma around discussing mental health concerns and seeking help. The program also connects players with the support and expertise they need to stay safe and mentally healthy. Since the program’s inception, more than 400 players and OHL staff have participated in training sessions with tips focusing on mental wellness, the warning signs and characteristics of mental illness for early detection, and how to recognize persons at risk of suicide.
For more information, visit the CMHA Ontario website.