Anxiety, stress, anger, sadness, insecurity… No matter the sport, we all bring more than just our A-game. That’s why Team Alex offers training to equip coaches, players, and parents to proactively and openly talk about mental health – creating a culture where everyone belongs, can be themselves, and know they matter.
Suicide rates in youth have been going up at an alarming rate.
The teen years can be challenging, and poor mental health is increasingly threatening the lives of children in Canada. An estimated 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by mental illness, with 3.2 million from ages 12-19 being at risk of developing depression.
“I hate my life. I want to go away.” It’s a common conversation that indicates suicidal thoughts and plans. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people in Canada, accounting for 24% of all deaths among 15 to 24-year-olds. Teens are also admitted to the hospital for suicide attempts more than any other age group.
Together, we can make a difference. Coaches, parents and peers are the most likely to recognize the early warning signs of mental illness and suicidal ideation. Once a mental illness like depression is recognized, help can make a difference in 80% of those affected.
What is mental health?
According to The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), mental health is “the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity.”
Why does it matter?
Mental health affects each one of us and plays a role in how we think and feel about ourselves and others. It influences our ability to learn, communicate and maintain relationships. Having good mental health protects us from hardships and stressors that inevitably happen in life. When it comes to developing mental health problems or disorders, and suicidal tendencies, having good mental health can help reduce the risk.
Why is this training important?
People often don’t know how to respond.
There is a stigma associated with mental health problems
Not everyone with a mental health problem seeks treatment
Many people are not well informed
We work together with Sports Leagues across the Province of Alberta to educate and train leaders, coaches, parents, teachers, children, youth, and people everywhere on this imperative subject. We aim to increase awareness while building resiliency and expanding the capacity for people to appropriately respond. Our dream is we would be able to extend our reach to include absolutely everyone, regardless of their location. Threaded throughout our work, we also strive to spread kindness to those around us to remind people that they are indeed valuable and loved.
Who We Train
The training provided is tailored towards coaches, players, and parents and can be booked through the league.
As a coach, you’re in a unique position to change the lives of the kids on your team. You might be the only trusted adult in their lives. Building self-esteem and knowing what to say in conversations about mental health can make all the difference.
As a parent, your child’s health is your top priority. If your child experiences a sports-related injury, you would seek help. You should be just as vigilant when it comes to the mental health and well-being of your child.
Teens may keep their suicidal thoughts to themselves or feel more comfortable talking to their friends than adults. Recognizing mental health issues in yourself or another player can help you identify what to say and when to get help. All the training we provide is age-appropriate, with sessions for a variety of age groups.
“If players start badmouthing their teammates for messing up a play, it’s vital that the coach shuts this down immediately before the negativity becomes a poison on the bench. The training provided by TEAM ALEX helps coaches like me be more aware and recognize situations like this before they become a problem.”
The Outreach Centre is proud to partner with Team Alex in their endeavor to educate as many coaches in as many sports as possible to create healthier communities. Educating coaches and parents about suicide awareness, bullying and mental health is vital in supporting those facing these issues and The Outreach Centre recognizes any of us may need this information at different points in our lives. As coaches may be seen as supportive, trusting, caring adults we are excited to participate in bringing this education to them! Suicide is a human issue, prevention is a community effort.
Barb Barber, Former Executive Director
The Outreach Centre
CMHA is happy to endorse a new program for Coaches and Parents. The creators of Team Alex have worked diligently to build a quality training on the topic of youth suicide from a sports and coaching perspective. CMHA strongly recommends parents and coaches of children and youth to attend these course that will provide a greater awareness of what is needed to prevent youth suicide. Suicide does not discriminate. We all have to work together to support our kids!
Christine Stewart, Executive Director
Canadian Mental Health Association, Central AB Region
After the tragic loss of Alex, who died by suicide in May 2019, his heartbroken family formed Team Alex. Through collective effort, we strive to equip, train and support individuals in obtaining the education needed to support those who may be thinking of escaping their pain by suicide.
Because of Alex’s love for hockey, our focus is on supporting players, coaches, and parents in
sports leagues and teams across Alberta.
You can make a difference!
Whether you wish to donate financially,* in kind, helping us get the word out, or join our team, or any other forms of support, partnership or sponsorship we value and are thankful for your contribution to further our mission. You will be helping us to provide training, awareness and resources to the coaches, parents and players of youth sports teams across Alberta. Together with you we can and will save lives!
Join Us Now
Thank you for your interest in joining out Team! We welcome members from all walks of life: If you have a passion for the mental health of our youth in sports, we want you on board.
Please fill the form below and we’ll back in touch with you soon!