CMHA’s Talk Today program returns with new hockey season

Working with Blackfalds Bulldogs

The Blackfalds Bulldogs will start play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League on Sept. 17. (Instagram photo)

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Central Alberta Region is proud to support the Blackfalds Bulldogs and the Olds Grizzlies with Talk Today, a suicide- prevention and mental health awareness program.

“CMHA Central Alberta is happy to be working with the Blackfalds Bulldogs and the Olds Grizzlies to bring mental health awareness and suicide prevention training to the young athletes on the team.” said Christine Stewart executive director of CMHA Central Alberta.

A designated CMHA Mental Health Coach is connected to each team so that they can help in case someone with the club is struggling or seeking mental health information or services for the 2021-22 season. The program also hosts mandatory evidence-based mental health and suicide awareness workshops for athletes. These workshops help enable the athletes to recognize when a teammate or others may be struggling and also gives them tools to speak openly about suicide and assist in getting individuals support.

The teams will also work with a club Mental Health Champion who works with CMHA personnel to help implement the training and awareness activities. Throughout the season there will also be Talk Today game days with related social media activities to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental health and addictions issues.

“We are very thankful for this partnership with CMHA Central Alberta.There are many factors that can affect the well-being of our hockey players, and it’s important to us that they know there’s support available.” said Adam West, Assistant General Manager of the Blackfalds Bulldogs.

With generous support from the NHL Foundation and Fifth Line Foundation, players across the league will benefit from one of the most comprehensive mental health programs for amateur sports in Canada.

Talk Today was created in 2014 and is now offered by more than 50 CMHAs to junior hockey partners nationwide. Talk Today has four key element. Talk Today and the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) began a partnership in the fall of 2019-20 season. Since then, the two partners have worked together to train more than 560 participants in suicide prevention across the CJHL.