The Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) is pleased to continue its partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) for a fourth season through the Talk Today Program. Talk Today is one of the most comprehensive mental health/sport related programs in Canada.
Elite athletes face immense pressures balancing academic demands and performing in their chosen sport. Talk Today helps encourage athletes to consider their mental health and speak openly if they’re struggling. Its aim is to provide suicide prevention education to young athletes and to spread awareness of the benefits of positive mental health across the country.
In 2019, the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) in collaboration with CMHAs nationwide partnered to bring mental health awareness and suicide-prevention training to Junior A hockey players across the country as part of the Talk Today initiative. With generous support from the NHL Foundation and the Fifth Line Foundation, the Talk Today partnership benefits the CJHL’s member leagues and more than 120 teams. Talk Today has provided suicide prevention training to more than 5,000 players, coaches and billets across the CJHL and CHL.
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.