Mental health advocate reaching out to hockey players

Mental health, while certainly more openly discussed in recent years than 20 years ago, is still an issue that many struggle with in silence. Fearing the stigma of being labelled, or just reluctant to speak out, there are many people struggling alone.

That may be particularly true among certain age and gender groups. A young man from Kelowna, Mayles Mattila, is reaching out to hockey players through the KIJHL. Matilla plays for the Kelowna Rockets and he has been a mental health advocate for three years. He has founded Mindright, a Peer to Peer support program, and his goal is to reach out to hockey players, letting them know that help is available in their communities, and that it’s okay to reach out.

The primary goal of P2P is to create a resource platform to help provide support and do more for youth mental health.

The goal is to help youth hockey player send the mental health stigma within their peer group and assist players with seeking the help they need from the P2P resource team and with resources that exist within the community.

The focus is on helping promote wellness and positive living for young people through increasing community awareness. Young people are encouraged to be be open and engage in conversation.

While playing for the Kelowna Chiefs of the KIJHL, Myles will support this initiative and the Kelowna Chiefs will host four mental health awareness games this season that will feature P2P. As a certified speaker, Myles will use his skills to reach out to local schools and hockey teams to tell his story and extend his invitation to the P2P Program. He will encourage dialogue regarding mental health, provide details on existing mental health resources and promote Peer to Peer support.

The goal of the Provincial program will be to create a culture that encourages discussion in locker rooms and the community. Start the Conversation and allow these hockey players to have a free and safe environment to talk about their mental health and to get them help when needed before it’s too late. A phone App is also being planned, which will allow more reticent players to seek out local services on their own.

Each team/group will have a designated Ambassador that will be the initial contact. This program promotes Early Intervention through Peer to Peer support.

“I believe we have the resources available to help youth in need and we should give them support to get the help when needed.” Matilla said.

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