The Greater Toronto Hockey League, in partnership with Movember, hosted two Breaking the Ice workshops for coaches to better understand mental health among athletes. The workshops, which took place on January 19 and January 22, were a welcomed success for a total of 20 GTHL coaches.
Breaking the Ice helps coaches understand, recognize, and manage mental health issues among their athletes. In the program, coaches gain important skills and knowledge that underpin youth mental health. Given the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s never been more important for coaches to be equipped with the tools and resources to help provide support for young athletes and their mental health.
“When I was 27, I went through a very tough time in regards to my mental health and I was put in a position where I had to step away from coaching the game I love. Through my journey, I realized that the key to my success was first recognizing the support system I had in my family and friends, but also that I needed to add to that very group. I was able to do so and I now have the tools to navigate trying times,” Nathan Judd-Warren, Head Coach of the Scarborough Young Bruins Under-12 AA team and participant in Breaking the Ice, shared following the workshop. “Having participated in the Movember: Breaking the Ice seminar, I feel as though I have added to my support group. They provide a safe place for coaches, parents, and players alike to speak about mental health. I feel even more equipped to have open and honest discussions about mental health with my players.”
“Thank you to everyone at Movember and to those who are driving the conversation forward,” Judd-Warren concluded.
In the 90-minute Zoom workshops, coaches were taken through the Movember: Breaking the Ice program content, including various conversation points, team exercises, and group discussion. The sessions help coaches recognize the warning signs of mental health issues among young athletes. Coaches learn how to start a conversation about mental health with players or parents. The program aims to ensure coaches develop a deeper understanding of the support channels available to them.
“We’re incredibly lucky to work with such a dedicated and passionate partner in the GTHL. Thank you to all the coaches who took part in the recent program deliveries, volunteering their time to learn and educate themselves on youth mental health,” said Shannon Nix, Movember’s Breaking the Ice Program Implementation Manager for Canada. “It’s through these vulnerable conversations that we’re able to work together and help move the dial to better support athletes, especially during a time where mental health has never been more important.”
About Breaking the Ice
Breaking the Ice uses hockey to teach athletes, parents, and coaches how to talk about mental health. The program reviews how to recognize mental health issues, what to do and when to get help. Athletes learn how to build resilience and overcome challenges in hockey and life. Learn more at breakingtheice.ca.
Movember is the leading charity changing the face of men’s health on a global scale, focusing on mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. The charity raises funds to deliver innovative, breakthrough research and support programs that enable men to live happier, healthier and longer lives. Committed to disrupting the status quo, millions have joined the movement, helping fund over 1,250 projects around the world. In addition to tackling key health issues faced by men, Movember is working to encourage men to stay healthy in all areas of their life, with a focus on men staying socially connected, and becoming more open to discussing their health and significant moments in their lives. The charity’s vision is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. To donate or learn more, please visit Movember.com.