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NHLPA, Opening Minds launch program to strengthen NHLPA members’ mental health knowledge and skills

A group of people proudly posing for a photo, holding their well-deserved awards.

The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), in collaboration with Opening Minds, the training division of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), recently announced the official launch of the FIRST LINE, an education and leadership program developed to strengthen NHLPA members’ mental health knowledge and skills.


The first of its kind in professional sports, FIRST LINE was developed specifically for NHL players by the NHLPA Health and Wellness team, Opening Minds, and the MHCC. This program stands as a testament to the commitment of both organizations to prioritize the mental health and well-being of NHL players.

Program Highlights:

  • Knowledge Enhancement: FIRST LINE aims to increase awareness of common mental health issues like depression, anxiety, addiction, and self-harm.
  • Peer Support Skills: Equipping NHLPA members with the necessary skills to offer peer-to-peer support within their community.
  • Tackling Stigma: Providing education on mental health stigma and strategies to overcome it.

The First Line program builds upon Opening Minds’ The Working Mind Sports and is adapted to the specific requirements of the NHLPA.

Empowering Players:

The course is exclusively available to NHLPA members and facilitated by NHLPA Consulting Psychologist and former player Jay Harrison. Upon completion, players are better equipped to recognize and speak openly about their mental health status, use evidence-based techniques to build mental wellness resilience and seek additional support as needed.  Players completing the program will receive a certificate of achievement from Opening Minds, symbolizing their shared commitment to fostering a supportive mental health environment.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the NHLPA on this vital initiative,” says Shane Silver, Vice President, MHCC Opening Minds. “This partnership celebrates a shared vision of promoting mental health in every aspect of our lives.”

This partnership goes beyond a program; it’s a celebration of a holistic approach to health and wellness. Together, Opening Minds and NHLPA are making a difference by championing mental health in professional sports. Stay connected with us as we continue to celebrate mental health advocacy in the sports community.

Interested in enrolling your sports organization in mental health training? Try The Working Mind Sports! Trusted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League, TWM Sports is an evidence-based mental health training program designed to address and promote mental health amongst athletes and coaches.

Need a more customized solution? Reach out to our team at solutions@openingminds.org and learn how we can create a tailor-made training program to address your unique needs.

Media Coverage

The Working Mind Adaptations

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The Working Mind First Responders
The Working Mind First Responders is an education-based program designed to address and promote mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness in a first-responder setting.
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The Working Mind Healthcare focuses on providing workers in the healthcare industry with the tools to promote mental health in the workplace while also reducing the stigma of mental illness.
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The Working Mind Sports
The Working Mind Sports is an evidence-based mental health training program designed to address and promote mental health amongst athletes and coaches. This is an adaptation of The Working Mind.
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The Working Mind Legal Sector
TWM for the Legal Sector Virtual is an evidence-based training, developed to initiate a shift in the way you think, act, and feel about mental health in the workplace. It is specifically designed for employees and managers in the legal sector.
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The Working Mind Facilitator Certification Training (TWM FCT) is a skills and competencies-based training designed to prepare selected candidates to meet the certification requirements to deliver The Working Mind (TWM) course in a virtual classroom setting.
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Providing services to residents in long term care homes care can present several daily stressors—working in end-of-life care, responding to resident behaviour, managing scheduling challenges, and more.
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The Working Mind (TWM) is an evidence-based learning program designed to teach you about mental health and reduce stigma in the workplace around mental illness.

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