Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) BC Division and the BC Hockey League (BCHL) have launched Talk Today.
A mental health education program designed for BCHL players and their supporters, Talk Today helps them learn about mental health and increase their skills in order to help support players who may be struggling or at risk of suicide.
The Talk Today program is one of the most comprehensive mental health programs for amateur sports in Canada.
It consists of several components including mental health and suicide awareness workshops, 1-1 mental health coaches, and Talk Today community awareness events at BCHL games.
For each of the 17 BCHL teams, a local CMHA Mental Health Navigator will serve as a liaison, providing referrals to community mental health and addictions support.
The Navigator will also work closely with their local BCHL team to help promote mental health awareness within their local community.
The announcement comes as welcome news to 16 year old Myles Mattila.
Based in Kelowna, Mattila has been a mental health advocate for several years as a result of the impact of two events: when he didn’t know how to help one of his hockey teammates who was experiencing mental health issues, and the passing of former Vancouver Canucks Rick Rypien.
“Mental health affects everyone no matter what age we are, and youth and young athletes are no exception,” Mattila said. “It’s encouraging to see programs like Talk Today being implemented to help make a difference and show everyone that it’s OK to talk about mental health and mental illness.”