(Photo contributed)

Blackfalds Bulldogs and Olds Grizzlies to benefit from mental health program

Canadian Mental Health Association working with hockey players

Canadian Mental Health Association Central Alberta Region will support the Blackfalds Bulldogs and the Olds Grizzlies with a mental health awareness program this season.

With support from the NHL Foundation and Fifth Line Foundation, hockey players will benefit from Talk Today, which the CMHA calls 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.

“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.

Talk Today key elements:

• Mandatory evidence-based mental health and suicide awareness workshops for athletes that enable them to not only recognize when a teammate or others 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 team so that they can help in case someone with the club is struggling or seeking mental health information or services.

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.

Talk Today has also expanded into high schools, colleges, universities and minor sports organizations across the country. Since 2014, more than 5,000 Talk Today participants have been trained in safeTALK, a globally recognized suicide-prevention workshop.

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