Multi-partner group releases Mental Health Strategy for High Performance Sport in Canada
MONTREAL (July 14, 2021) – Game Plan is pleased to announce the release of the Mental Health Strategy for High Performance Sport in Canada (“the Strategy”). The Strategy is the product of a multi-partner initiative between Game Plan, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network (COPSIN), Own the Podium, and the Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Sport (CCMHS).
The primary aim of the Strategy is to improve the mental health outcomes for all Canadian high performance athletes, coaches, and staff through recommended actions in five strategic priority areas. The Strategy was developed by Canadian experts in mental health and sport based on scientific evidence, applied experience, and international best practices. Krista Van Slingerland, Game Plan’s Mental Health Manager, is responsible for leading the implementation and evaluation of the Strategy.
“I’m looking forward to supporting organizations across the sport system in implementing recommendations within the Strategy according to their needs, priorities, and available resources”, says Van Slingerland.
The Strategy builds on the services provided by Game Plan’s mental health partner Lifeworks, which has been providing athletes with confidential 24/7 counselling since 2015, and on the work of COPSIN, which has provided athletes with ad-hoc access to care. Some of the key components of the Strategy, including more education for athletes, coaches and administrators, dedicated staff, and a network of specialized mental health professionals, complement the services and resources that are the crux of Lifeworks’ offerings.
The experience of a global pandemic during an Olympic and Paralympic year has called attention to the importance of mental health, as is highlighted by multiple Canadian athletes who have shared how COVID-19 has impacted their well-being and ability to prepare for major competitions. As difficult as the pandemic has been, Van Slingerland says it has also provided an opportunity for the sport community, and Game Plan in particular, to increase and solidify its support of athletes’ mental health.
The release of the Strategy makes Canada one of a handful of nations in the world to develop a formalized policy on mental health in high performance sport.
“The release of the Strategy signifies the sport system’s recognition of mental health as a foundational component of overall performance,” Game Plan Senior National Manager, Cara Button says. “It further establishes Canada as a world leader in the provision of holistic support for high performance sport participants”.
About Game Plan
Game Plan, which is proudly powered by Deloitte, was developed in collaboration with Sport Partners at the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Sport Canada and Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network (COPSIN). Game Plan’s stakeholders continue to work together to provide athletes with the support and resources they need to thrive on and off the field of play.
Krista Van Slingerland
Mental Health Manager, Game Plan
Senior Manager, Game Plan