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The Sport Information Resource Centre

The Coaching Association of Canada launched its National Mental Health and Sport Resource Hub

The Hub aims to increase mental health literacy among coaches at all levels of sport to reach communities most impacted by COVID-19 across Canada

February 16, 2023 – OTTAWA, ON – The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant and disproportionate impact on the mental health and well-being of people in Canada within the sports community and beyond. The Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) launched a new Mental Health and Sport Resource Hub hosted on the CAC website. The Hub aims to equip and empower coaches at all levels of sport and in all provinces and territories as a launch pad to advancing nationwide mental health literacy.

Evidence has revealed that between 40-48% of children and adolescents have experienced mental health issues in the wake of the pandemic (Liang et al., 2020)(Wang et al., 2020). Research has also shown that children and youth with mental health issues tend not to seek formal help. It is vital, therefore, to identify
potential avenues to support them.

The launch of the Mental Health and Sport Resource Hub is part of a larger project, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), to reach communities across Canada, including those in remote areas, Indigenous peoples, newcomers to Canada, and the Canadian Armed Forces. As part of this project, the CAC has updated and expanded on mental health content in existing NCCP and CAC modules, and will be offering the CAC’s Mental Health in Sport eLearning module in an additional seven (7) languages: Arabic, Punjabi, Chinese, Tagalog, Cree, Inuktitut and Dene. The CAC is also training NCCP Learning Facilitators across the country to deliver the updated modules in their communities.

As participants return to sport across Canada, coaches have a vital role to play. Their influence, observation, and personal connection in working with sport participants place them in a critical role to support those experiencing low mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While well positioned to help the children and youth they are coaching in dealing with mental health issues, many coaches do not feel they have the knowledge or confidence to do so. With the launch of the national Mental Health and Sport Hub, the aim is to bridge this gap and increase mental health literacy among coaches, both with a focus on self-care and supporting their sport participants. The Hub is a powerhouse of free, easily accessible resources that includes rich content, information, training modules, research, data, infographics, videos, and activities provided by organizations with expertise in mental health literacy and education. This dynamic platform will be regularly updated with new resources to maintain relevancy and expand on the available content.

Speaking on the launch, Lorraine Lafrenière, Chief Executive Officer of the Coaching Association of Canada, said, “At the CAC, we know the positive impact that physical activity along with the sense of belonging can have on participants’ mental health. We also know the unique position that coaches can play as a source of support and guidance for those who need it, especially in remote communities where resources and services may be limited.”

“As a national organization, we can help to empower coaches across the country by providing accessible resources, to better support themselves and participants. Coaches can influence and to normalize conversations around mental health. We invite everyone to visit and contribute to the Mental Health and Sport Resource Hub.” Lafrenière added.

Powered through partnerships of over 500 sport organizations at all levels across Canada, the CAC is uniquely placed through its network, capacity, and expertise to enhance and deliver mental health awareness and literacy training. This project will engage hundreds of thousands of citizens in the communities in which they live, including coaches, teachers, and community sport leaders; the children, youth, and adults they coach, teach and lead; and the wider community. With this 360-degree national Mental Health and Sport project we strive to positively impact the sport community and play an important role in Canada’s continued growth and success as a sporting nation.

The following coaches and athletes are available for media interviews related to this project:

  • Aaron Grainge, Fitness and Wellness Liaison, Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services (Barrie, ON)
  • Bev Priestman, Head Coach of the Women’s National Soccer Team (Vancouver, BC)
  • Breanne Nicholas, Women’s 7’s National Team Captain (Victoria, BC, Hometown: Chatham, ON)
  • Damian Warner, Decathlete and Olympic Champion (London, ON)
  • Major Isabelle Turner, long-time runner, triathlete, and Battery Commander, 128 Battery 4th Artillery Regiment (General Support), Royal Canadian Artillery (Oromocto, NB)
  • Jack Hanratty, Head Coach of the Canadian Women’s Rugby 7’s Team (Victoria, BC)
  • Jean-François Ménard, High-performance Mental Performance Coach and Author (Montreal, QC)
  • Jillian Officer, decorated Olympic Curler and High-Performance Director for Curl Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB)
  • Max Parrot, three-time Olympic medalist, Slopestyle (Montreal, QC)
  • Molly Carlson, Team Canada High Diver and creator of the #BraveGang community focused on bravery, self-love and body positivity. (Montreal, QC)
  • Reme Osorio, Futsal Coach (Waterloo, ON)
  • Robin McKeever, Head Coach of Canada’s Olympic Cross-Country Ski Team and former Coach of Canada’s decorated Para Nordic team (Canmore, AB)
  • Rhys McAlpine, Skating Coach representing Saskatchewan for the Aboriginal Apprentice Coach Program at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island. (Ochapowace First Nation, SK)
  • Saad Bin Zafar, Canadian National Cricketer World Record Holder (Brampton, ON)
  • Dr. Sharon Anne Firth, Gwich’in Olympian and cross-country skiing legend (Canmore AB, Hometown: Yellowknife, NT)
  • Shiv Jagday, the Head Coach behind Field Hockey Canada’s first Pan-American Games gold medal and Field Hockey Canada’s Hall of Fame inductee (Coquitlam, BC)
  • Steve Leknois, Men’s Volleyball Coach at RMC and a proud 22-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces (Kingston, ON)

Mental Health, Sport and COVID-19 Task Force members:

  • Dr. Natalie Durand-Bush, Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Sport Representative
  • Jennifer Misurelli PhD (c), Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Sport Representative
  • Krista Van Slingerland, Game Plan Representative
  • Nicole Clarke, School Sport Canada Representative
  • Burcin Peterson, Kids Help Phone Representative
  • Chesare (Ches) Cardinal, Aboriginal Sport Circle Representative
  • Francis Boyer, Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services Representative
  • Karl Manzi Bicamumpaka, Black Canadian Coaches Association (BCCA) Representative
  • Gabriel Kim, Provincial/Territorial Coaching Representative (PTCR)
  • Amanda Miles, Coach Representative
  • Christina Kouvousis, Coach Representative
  • John Michael On, Coach Representative
  • Coralie Vittecoq, Athlete Representative
  • Laura G. Farres, Subject Matter Expert
  • Erin Hall, Subject Matter Expert
  • Steve Jett, Subject Matter Expert
  • Marika Warner, Community Organization Representative
  • Tagalik Eccles, Community Organization Representative

About the Coaching Association of Canada:
The Coaching Association of Canada unites stakeholders and partners in its commitment to raising the skills and stature of coaches, and ultimately expanding their reach and influence. Through its programs, the CAC empowers coaches with knowledge and skills, promotes ethics, fosters positive attitudes, builds competence, and increases the credibility and recognition of coaches. For more information, please visit www.coach.ca, follow us on Facebook, Twitteror Instagram.

For more information and interview opportunities, please contact:

Arushi G Phillips
Manager, Communications and Public Relations – Special Project
Coaching Association of Canada
aphillips@coach.ca