A new partnership between the B.C. Hockey League and the Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC Division is designed to help players and their supporters learn about mental health and increase their skills in order to help players who may be struggling emotionally or at risk of suicide.
“We are excited to partner with the B.C. Hockey League, to help their athletes connect with the mental health supports and resources they need to thrive,” CMHA BC CEO Bev Gutray said as the program, Talk Today, was announced.
Talk Today is being called “one of the most comprehensive mental health programs for amateur sports in Canada.” Its components include mental health and suicide awareness workshops, one-on-one mental health coaches, and community awareness events at games.
“The B.C. Hockey league strives to be the best junior A hockey league in North America,” BCHL commissioner John Grisdale said. “For us, that means supporting the physical and mental health of our athletes, as well as reaching out to our communities and helping support causes we care about through initiatives like Talk Today.”
Each BCHL team will have a CMHA mental health navigator serving as a liaison and helping to provide referrals to local mental health and addictions support. They will also work with teams to help promote mental health awareness in the community.
“Each year, our network of 14 CMHA branches in BC help over 120,000 people including children and youth, families and older adults,” Gutray said. “Talk Today will help strengthen those community connections and reach new audiences with the message that mental health is possible for all.”
Talk Today builds on the success of an initiative of the same name launched in Ontario in 2014 as a partnership between CMHA Ontario and the Ontario Hockey League.