Cariboo Cougars Taking Mental Health Seriously
Prince George, B.C. – The Cariboo Cougars of the BC Major Midget League have launched a new initiative aimed at ensuring the mental wellness of its players.
It’s called MindRight and includes workshops for Cougars players and staff surrounding mental health and suicide awareness. There’s also concussion training, support from a sports psychologist, information about local support services, and community awareness events at home games.
“After coaching hockey for nearly 20 years, I knew there was a piece that was missing. With the Cariboo Cougars, we know that if we’re going to help shape the futures of these young men, we can’t ignore their mental health,” says Trevor Sprague, head coach and GM of the Cougars.
“So our coaching staff and our training staff bought into taking an 18-hour course and we’ve already done all of it but one session,” he adds. “This here is about putting something together for making sure we recognize the fact that there’s a place for them, something here that can help them get to where they need to be.”
The idea for the initiative was hatched by Myles Mattila, the 17-year-old assistant captain of the Cougars. Matila has been a mental advocate the past few years in the region as spokesman for mindcheck.ca.
“Mental health affects everyone no matter what age we are, and youth and young athletes are no exception,” he says. “We’re hoping that with MindRight we can help decrease the stigma around these issues, and show everyone that it’s okay to talk about mental health and mental illness.”
This coming Saturday, the Cougars will be dedicating their game vs. the South Island Royals to raising awareness around mental health.
The game starts at 3:45 p.m. at the Kin 1 Arena. Admission is by donation.