Talk Today – Niagara IceDogs and CMHA Niagara Host a Mental Health Awareness Game

The Niagara IceDogs have partnered with Canadian Mental Health Association, Niagara for a mental health awareness game Sunday, February 17th, 2019 at 2:00pm, presented by Teachers Life, when the Niagara IceDogs take on the Sudbury Wolves at the Meridian Centre.

The game day experience will have several features to promote the importance of mental health, including:

  • A CMHA-run kiosk on the concourse where fans can learn more about mental health and the organization’s community-based services
  • A ceremonial puck drop and photo opportunity with CMHA Niagara
  • Videos featuring Niagara IceDogs players talking about the importance of mental health
  • Public service announcements about mental health and CMHA Niagara
  • Mental health signs for fans to write on and show in unison at a designated stoppage in play

This mental health awareness game is part of CMHA Niagara’s Talk Today Program, presented by Teachers Life. The Talk Today prgram was originally launched by CMHA Ontario in partnership with the Ontario Hockey League in 2014. This ongoing partnership with the OHL and the Niagara IceDogs’ provides an important opportunity to address the mental health needs of athletes across Canada. Through this program, over 1,000 OHL players and over 400 coaches, billets and staff have received mental health and suicide prevention training across the league.

The key piece of the Talk Today program has been to educate players about mental health and suicide prevention. Each team is also linked to a CMHA mental health coach, who provides support and mental health resources to individuals in need. Additionally, CMHA experts work with players from the Niagara IceDogs to deliver a basic in-class presentation about mental wellness to elementary school students.

“One in five youth struggles with their mental health. Members of the Niagara Ice Dogs play leadership roles within the community and players, particularly, are seen as excellent role models who positively influence young fans and their families. This Talk Today event aims to combat stigma by starting a conversation around mental health and encouraging young people to seek help when they need it,” said Tara McKendrick, Executive Director, CMHA Niagara.

“Games like this one reinforce to me how lucky I am to be working in such an incredible league, who works tirelessly with all its member clubs to make sure organizations like the CMHA and the Talk Today program receive added attention and focus, which could not be more important. Talk Today is one of the most important initiatives that our league, and the IceDogs are involved with, and it has become one of my favourite games of the year. To shine light on the importance of Mental Health is something that is extremely important in today’s world, and to be able to let those who are struggling know they are not alone, and that there are outlets for you, can make all the difference in someone’s world, and to be able as an organization to help any way we can is something we jump at the chance to do. The entire Niagara IceDogs organization is committed to ending the stigma surrounding mental health, and providing an outlet and means for anyone to get the help they need. Thank you to the CMHA, Talk Today program and Go Dogs Go!”  said Joey Burke, General Manager of the Niagara IceDogs

Join CMHA Niagara and the Niagara Ice Dogs on Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 2:00 pm.