Toronto – Taekwondo Canada and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario, are announcing a new partnership to pilot the Talk Today program. Talk Today is one of the most comprehensive mental health programs for amateur sports in Canada.
Through this partnership, Taekwondo Canada will become the first National Sport Organization (NSO) to pilot the program. With its support, this pilot will enable a CMHA branch to deliver suicide prevention training to roughly 150 club members of Taekwondo Canada. Participants in the program will also have access to a local CMHA Mental Health Coach, who can help guide them if they are looking for mental health information or supports.
Taekwondo Canada will also be using its platform during this year’s 2022 Canadian National Kyorugi Championships April 15th to 17th, to promote positive mental health during the event using #TalkToday.
Along with sharing positive messages about mental health online, members and fans attending the event will be able to learn more about resources available in their community by stopping by CMHA Ontario’s information booth.
“Taekwondo Canada is extremely pleased to partner with CMHA Ontario in piloting Talk Today with its participants within the taekwondo community.” said Taekwondo Canada Executive Director Dave Harris. “As the first National Sport Organization to be part of this program, we believe we are offering much needed mental health services to our youth that previously were not available. We look forward to working with the entire CMHA Ontario team moving forward.”
“We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm we’ve received from Taekwondo Canada as they help us mark a new milestone by becoming the first National Sport Organization to pilot Talk Today.” said CMHA Ontario CEO Camille Quenneville. “With the challenges many athletes have faced due to the pandemic, now more than ever we need to remind them that it’s ok to ask for help and provide them with the resources necessary to access that support.”
Components of Talk Today
1. Mental health and suicide prevention training for athletes – All participating athletes over the age of 15 receive an accredited training program called, safeTALK. The training is also made available to parents, coaches, and staff. safeTALK teaches individuals to recognize persons with thoughts of suicide and learn how to connect a person who has thoughts of suicide to a caregiver for intervention. Participants under the age of 15 will receive a one-hour mental health and wellness presentation.
2. CMHA Mental Health Coach – The CMHA assigns a Mental Health Coach to each participating club to provide community mental health resources and supports for the athletes as well as the people that surround them.
3. Mental Health Champions – Each club will appoint an internal Mental Health Champion who acts as a club advocate on mental health issues and helps participants connect with their local CMHA Mental Health Coach should they be in need of support.
4. Talk Today awareness events – Each club uses one event per year to help raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention in partnership with their partnering CMHA branch.
Originally launched by CMHA Ontario Division in partnership with the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2014, Talk Today provides an important opportunity to address the mental health needs of athletes across the province and across Canada. Since its inception Talk Today has grown to support the two highest levels of junior hockey, the Canadian Hockey League and Canadian Junior Hockey League, while continuing to see expansion in local communities with post-secondary institutions and local sporting organizations.
• Since 2014, nearly 6,000 athletes, coaches, staff and parents have received suicide awareness training through Talk Today.
• A 2021 McGill evaluation of the Talk Today program in the OHL found that 78% of athletes and 90% of staff were satisfied with the program.
• The McGill evaluation also found that 87% of OHL team staff say they are likely to change the way they behave in response to someone with a mental health issue.
About Taekwondo Canada:
Taekwondo Canada is the official governing body of Taekwondo in Canada, governing the sport in all Provinces and Territories. Taekwondo Canada is recognized by World Taekwondo, the International Olympic Committee, Pan American Taekwondo Union (PATU) and Sport Canada. Taekwondo Canada will continue to be a leading nation in the sport by providing leadership and opportunities to enable its participants to achieve their goals.
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization funded by the provincial Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. We work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Our vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. We are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health.
For more information, contact:
Cell: (519) 859-7410
Talk Today Program and Communications Manager
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario