At its 124th Annual General Meeting held in Niagara Falls on June 15th, the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) announced the launch of a program that will provide SafeTALK training to teams and their communities across Ontario.
SafeTALK training prepares helpers over the age of 15 to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources. SafeTALK is an internationally recognized program developed by LivingWorks.
The partnership will see the OHA work in collaboration with its 115 member teams to provide support for the delivery of SafeTALK Workshops to all OHA Member Teams over a 4 year period. Teams will be encouraged to develop partnerships with community groups to provide the program to further educate people in the communities where the OHA operates teams.
“The OHA and its members are proud to announce what is a very positive step in proactively addressing the serious problem of youth mental health and suicide in our communities today,” commented Scott Farley, OHA Chief Executive Officer. “Our Junior and Senior teams are a major part of the community fabric in over 100 Ontario communities and by taking a leadership role with this project, we want to demonstrate our commitment to providing resources and educational opportunities to our teams, our players, and also engage the communities in the conversation on this very important topic that in some way has touched each of us.”
Over 150 delegates at the Annual Meeting heard a presentation from SafeTALK Trainer Cecilia Marie Flynn, highlighting the facts about this issue and what can be accomplished through education, awareness and positive dialogue.
“One of the most devastating aspects of mental health and suicide is the stigma that prevents those suffering from seeking help. The OHA leadership is allowing us the opportunity to engage our youth and the community in a conversation about mental health and suicide that will change attitudes and ultimately save lives” says Cecilia Marie Flynn SafeTALK trainer and Program Coordinator for the Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton.
Further details on the program delivery will be provided to OHA member teams in the coming months.
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