Brock, CMHA to tackle mental health in varsity sport

Brock University has teamed up with Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Niagara for a game-changing mental health initiative.

During the Fall Semester, Brock Sports worked with the CMHA Niagara to pilot and evaluate CMHA’s Talk Today program, a leading mental health initiative for amateur sports in Canada, with varsity student athletes.

“Our groundbreaking partnership with CMHA Niagara introduces the Talk Today program, addressing the mental health challenges in varsity sports,” said Brock Sports and Recreation Executive Director Melissa Krist. “This collaborative effort emphasizes our commitment to evidence-based mental health promotion.”

To bring attention to this pivotal partnership and raise awareness about mental health in sports, the Badgers are hosting a free awareness event on Thursday, Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Walker Sports Complex near the Hungry Badger.

Representatives from CMHA Niagara and the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre (SWAC) will be present to help student-athletes, students and staff learn about the Talk Today program as well as Brock and CMHA mental health services.

“We want to thank our partners for collaborating with us to promote student athlete mental health on campus,” said Mehroon Kassam, Manager of Student Health/Counselling. “This is a great opportunity to not only support our student-athletes, but also remind all students that help is available both on campus and through CMHA Niagara.”

Two Brock varsity teams involved in the research project will share their experiences with the Talk Today program and discuss mental well-being in sports.

More than 50 student-athletes from Brock’s rugby and soccer teams actively participated in the Talk Today pilot this fall. As part of the program, the teams underwent mental health and suicide prevention education, and each student-athlete was paired with a mental health coach for ongoing support throughout the season.

This support comes from both on-campus resources, such as SWAC, and off-campus assistance provided by a CMHA Niagara staff member.

The collaboration extends to research, with CMHA Ontario and CMHA Niagara partnering with Professor of Kinesiology Philip Sullivan and graduate students Mishka Blacker and Joshua Celebre.

Together, they are continuing to evaluate the program’s effectiveness, focusing on its impact on mental health literacy and help-seeking behaviour.

The research is supported by grant funding from Mitacs, a non-profit national research organization, emphasizing the commitment to evidence-based practices in mental health promotion.

Students looking for more information about mental health services can visit the SWAC website or the CMHA Niagara website.

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