The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) has partnered with local branches of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in Saskatchewan to bring CMHA’s Talk Today program to SJHL teams.
CMHA’s Talk Today program is being delivered across the SJHL and Canadian Junior Hockey League with the generous support of the NHL Foundation and The Fifth Line Foundation.
The introduction of Talk Today, one of the most comprehensive sport-related mental health programs in Canada, means nearly 300 players throughout the 12-team SJHL will benefit from mental health awareness and suicide-prevention training this season.
Elite athletes face immense pressures, including balancing academic demands and performing in their chosen sport. Talk Today was designed to promote the mental health of these young athletes and to spread awareness about the benefits of positive mental health.
“Through this new partnership with CMHAs in Saskatchewan, we’re committed to providing mental health resources to our athletes and creating an environment that’s conducive to seeking help when they need it,” said SJHL president Bill Chow. “Over the past couple years, our players have faced tremendous grief and loss, and our goal is to make sure no one has to take on mental health challenges alone.”
“CMHA Saskatchewan and local CMHA branches look forward to working with the SJHL to bring mental health awareness and suicide prevention training to its athletes across the province,” said CMHA Saskatchewan executive director Phyllis O’Connor. “Talk Today has been a great resource for thousands of junior hockey players across Canada already, and we’re pleased to be able to provide SJHL players with the tools to support their mental wellness.”
Key components of the Talk Today program include workshops, community programs and a partnership between the SJHL team and their local CMHA branch.
Mental Health Coaches – A CMHA Mental Health Coach acts as a direct link to a team participating in Talk Today. This relationship allows for greater knowledge of and access to community mental health and addictions resources.
Mental Health / Suicide Prevention Workshops – Talk Today offers participants standardized, certified and evidence-based mental health and suicide-awareness workshops.
Mental Health Champions – Talk Today actively encourages at least one person within a participating sport organization to become a Mental Health Champion. This person is a positive force for mental health within their team.
Talk Today Events / Games – Elite athletes and sports organizations are positive role models within their communities and can help destigmatize mental health issues. Participating teams and CMHA branches will host a Talk Today game-day event to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. Further details regarding the events will be announced by the host teams throughout the 2020-21 SJHL season.
Originally launched in 2014, Talk Today has grown into a national mental health initiative and now includes more than 50 CMHA provincial divisions and community branches across Canada supporting junior hockey teams, post-secondary sports programs, minor sports organizations, and more. Since the program’s inception, more than 5,000 participants have received mental health awareness and suicide prevention training.