In advance of World Suicide Prevention Day this Saturday, Guelph Storm defenceman Garrett McFadden is speaking out about the importance of maintaining positive mental health.
McFadden, his family and friends were shocked when a boy they knew died by suicide five years ago. The event, as well as challenges he’s endured as a hockey player, have shaped McFadden’s views about suicide awareness and mental health. He wrote an essay about his experiences as the foundation of a mental health initiative, McFadden’s Movement. The essay will be part of a presentation in which McFadden hopes to utilize to connect with minor athletes and minor hockey teams starting this upcoming 2016-17 season.
Geared towards minor athletes, McFadden’s Movement hopes to make a connection and discuss mental health, working to rid the stigma surrounding athletes and mental health, starting at the grass roots level.
“Having someone like Garrett McFadden, who is a role model to youth and children, speak out about the importance of positive mental health and suicide awareness is incredibly impactful. The more we talk about suicide awareness and mental health the more lives will be saved. Kudos to Garrett and the Guelph Storm for their leadership on addressing this crucial issue,” said Fred Wagner, Executive Director of CMHA Waterloo Wellington Dufferin.
World Suicide Prevention Day is presented annually by the International Association for Suicide Prevention to spread awareness and break the silence about suicide. This year’s theme, ‘Connect, Communicate, Care’ captures the heart of suicide prevention.
McFadden, the Storm and the rest of the players in the Ontario Hockey League are taking part in the Talk Today program, one of the most comprehensive mental health program for athletes in Canada. Since the program’s inception in October 2014, 670 players, 158 individual billets and 84 coaches across the OHL have been trained in safeTALK, which teaches individuals the importance of mental health, how to recognize persons with thoughts of suicide and how to take action.