Free online mental health resources for coaches, athletes and parents

Evelyn Anderson of the Coaching Association of Canada says the new mental health resources are getting positive feedback at the Canada Games. (Kirk Pennell/CBC - image credit)
Evelyn Anderson of the Coaching Association of Canada says the new mental health resources are getting positive feedback at the Canada Games. (Kirk Pennell/CBC - image credit)

Coaches and athletes at the Canada Winter Games have been checking out some new mental health resources made available online by the Coaching Association of Canada.

There are videos, training modules, infographics and activities that coaches can do with their athletes or for their own self-care.

The association has a booth it's setting up at various venues throughout the Games.

Kirk Pennell/CBC
Kirk Pennell/CBC

The project is getting positive response according to Evelyn Anderson, the coaching association's interim director of marketing and communications.

"Since the online resource hub launched on Thursday, we've seen a huge amount of traffic going there and we're hoping that continues as we're on site at more events," she said.

Anderson said they've been speaking with coaches, mission staff, athletes and anyone else who supports athletes.

"I think that's really important because a lot of coaches ... have a lot of technical expertise in their sport, but they don't necessarily have a lot of that extra knowledge required to support other areas of the athletes — mental health or other struggles that they might be facing," Anderson said.

"So it's a really good place to start for coaches and it goes through a few different scenarios where coaches can practise applying some of the terms and activities ... to see how they could apply in real-life situations."

Kirk Pennell/CBC
Kirk Pennell/CBC

Anderson said the goal is to help as many people as possible feel more comfortable and confident discussing mental health out loud — conversations that may happen between coaches and athletes, parents and athletes, or parents and coaches.

"It's such a great opportunity for young athletes and sport participants to learn how to manage their own stress, learn how to manage anxiety in a safe, positive, controlled environment," she said.

"And coaches, when they spend so much time with athletes — sometimes even more than parents at a high-competitive level — they really have that opportunity to have an impact."

Being away from familiar surroundings during what can be a high stress time is one of the issues Anderson said people have been talking about when they stop by the booth.

"Especially for the younger athletes, it's one of the first times they're far away from home, they're not in their familiar environment, they're not with their regular coach or their regular teammates," she said.

"So I think as a coach attending the Games or as a mission staff attending the Games you really are put into a position where you've become that role model and that go-to adult for a lot of the athletes facing mental health challenges."

In-person workshops 

Anderson said they've been getting suggestions from people looking for workshops and in-person events.

"They want to know when we're coming to their city or their province or territory. So that's something that we'll be working very closely with our provincial and territorial partners on over the next year," Anderson said.

The association will be hosting a mental health and sport day in Charlottetown on Sunday.