Winnipeg, Oct. 8, 2020 – The Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) will bring mental health awareness and suicide prevention training to its players for a second-consecutive season in 2020-21 through the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)’s Talk Today program.

CMHA’s Talk Today program is being delivered across the MJHL and the broader Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) with the generous support of the NHL Foundation and Fifth Line Foundation. Last season, the MJHL entered a partnership with the CJHL, CMHA Manitoba Division and local branches to bring Talk Today to MJHL teams. Building off the success from the inaugural season, which saw 147 players trained, training will continue across the league with an additional 180 players anticipated to receive mental health awareness and suicide prevention workshops this season.

Elite athletes face immense pressures, including balancing academic demands and performing in their chosen sport. Talk Today, one of the most comprehensive sport-related mental health programs in Canada, was designed to promote the mental health of these young athletes and to spread awareness about the benefits of positive mental health.

“We’re grateful to the leadership of the MJHL for providing CMHAs the opportunity to support and educate these young athletes again this season,” said CMHA Manitoba and Winnipeg executive director Marion Cooper. “Through Talk Today, we’re pleased to work with the MJHL and its players to reduce the stigma of mental health issues that often keeps people from seeking the help they need when they need it most.”

“Based on the success of the first year of Talk Today in the MJHL, we’re thrilled to be working with CMHA Manitoba and branches again this year to support our players,” said MJHL commissioner Kevin Saurette. “It’s very important to the MJHL that we equip our athletes with the tools to manage the unique stresses they face, and Talk Today is a perfect fit to guide these efforts.”

Key components of the Talk Today program include workshops, community programs, and a partnership between an MJHL team and its local CMHA branch.

Mental Health Coaches – A CMHA Mental Health Coach acts as a direct link to a team participating in Talk Today. This relationship allows for greater knowledge of and access to community mental health and addictions resources.

Mental Health / Suicide Prevention Workshops – Talk Today offers participants standardized, certified and evidence-based mental health and suicide-awareness workshops.

Mental Health Champions – Talk Today actively encourages at least one person within a participating sport organization to become a Mental Health Champion. This person is a positive force for mental health within their team.

Talk Today Events / Games – Elite athletes and sports organizations are positive role models within their communities and can help destigmatize mental health issues. Participating teams and CMHA branches will host a Talk Today game-day event to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. Further details regarding the events will be announced by the host teams throughout the 2020-21 MJHL season.

Originally launched in 2014, Talk Today has grown into a national mental health initiative and now includes more than 50 CMHA provincial divisions and community branches across Canada
supporting junior hockey teams, post-secondary sports programs, minor sports organizations, and more. Since the program’s inception, more than 5,000 participants have received mental health awareness and suicide prevention training.

For more information:

Lynn Russell
Executive Assistant, CMHA Manitoba and Winnipeg
T: 204-982-6141
E: lrussell@cmhawpg.mb.ca

Kyle Prystupa
Manager, Programming & Communications, Manitoba Junior Hockey League
E: media@mjhlhockey.ca