CJHL, CMHAs partner to support mental health of Jr. A hockey players

TORONTO, Ont. — Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division, in collaboration with CMHAs nationwide, and the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) are partnering to bring mental health awareness and suicide-prevention training to more than 4,400 Jr. A hockey players across the country as part of CMHA’s Talk Today initiative.

With generous support from the NHL Foundation, this new Talk Today partnership will benefit the CJHL’s 10 member leagues and more than 130 teams over the next three years.

Starting this season, Talk Today will launch in the Central Canada Hockey League, Manitoba Junior Hockey League, Maritime Junior Hockey League and Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Talk Today has four key elements:

• Mandatory evidence-based mental health and suicide awareness workshops for athletes that enable them to not only recognize when a teammate, classmate, friend or family member may be struggling, but gives them tools to speak openly about suicide and assist in getting individuals support.

• A designated CMHA Mental Health Coach is connected to each CJHL team so that they can help in case someone with the club is struggling or seeking mental health information or services.

• CJHL clubs will host Talk Today game days with related social media activities to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental health and addictions issues.

• A club Mental Health Champion who works with CMHA personnel to help implement the training and awareness activities.

“The NHL Foundation recognizes the positive impact and long-term value Talk Today has provided the hockey community through other development leagues and we’re pleased to have a role in bringing this important initiative to teams in the CJHL,” said John Sanful, Manager of the NHL Foundation. “We strive to create positive change by investing in initiatives that build healthy and vibrant communities through hockey, and we’re pleased to support a program that provides valuable life skills for players which they can use beyond their playing careers.”

Fast facts:

• Talk Today was launched in 2014 and the initiative has since expanded into junior hockey leagues, high schools, colleges, universities and minor sports organizations across the country.

• Since 2014, more than 4,000 Talk Today participants have been trained in safeTALK, a globally recognized suicide-prevention workshop.

• #TalkToday on social media has earned more than 62 million impressions since 2014.