(Toronto) The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) has unveiled a new program, First Line, intended to support the mental health of its members.
The announcement was made at the Hockey Hall of Fame. The program was developed in partnership with Changing Minds, the training program of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).
The general director of the NHLPA, Marty Walsh, former NHL defenseman Jay Harrison, as well as the vice-president of Changing Minds, Shane Silver, were on hand to present the main points of this new program.
Silver indicated that Première Ligne relies on the Spirit at Work-Sports program. It aims to increase awareness of common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction and self-harm; equip members with the skills to provide peer support; and fight against stigma in addition to offering strategies to overcome it.
Walsh added that the program will also be a resource for players and their families, in addition to improving their well-being, both on and off the ice.
This initiative comes several months after the creation of UNLMT, an assistance program for players to help them adapt to life after hockey.