Hockey Manitoba partners with Buddy Check for Jesse for a second season
Hockey Manitoba is proud to once again bring an incredible and SIMPLE mental health initiative called Buddy Check for Jesse to all of our U11, U13, U15 and U18 teams from January 20th, 2023 to February 5th, 2023.
Buddy Check for Jesse is a Canadian Charity, founded by Dr. Stu Gershman in memory of his son, Jesse Short-Gershman, who died by suicide on October 29, 2014.
The Buddy Check for Jesse program was developed for hockey coaches to deliver an important message (www.buddycheckforjesse.com/coaches-notes) about mental health and compassion to their teams. It began with Jesse’s dad, Stu Gershman, wanting to help his other two boys feel supported by their teammates, take action to create awareness of mental health challenges, and to be aware that a “team” can be more than just a group on the ice.
Stu believes that coaches are in a unique position to share this positive message to help raise awareness that mental health issues can affect anyone.
In the years since Buddy Check began, it has grown, expanded and become a staple conversation in many hockey dressing rooms in BC, and across Canada. Even better, the request for Buddy Check talks in other sports bolstered the charity’s desire to reach more athletes so that Buddy Check for Jesse is now provided on a multi-sport platform where all sports are encouraged to participate in talks and events to raise awareness for mental health in youth sport.
The goal of Buddy Check for Jesse is to destigmatize mental health and to empower and encourage youth and young adults to support one another. During the second year of the partnership with Buddy Check for Jesse and Hockey Manitoba, our Buddy Check program will focus on working with Hockey Manitoba coaches and teams to host events and Buddy Check talks.
This year, Hockey Manitoba will be sending out Buddy Check for Jesse packages to our Minor Hockey Associations throughout the province by early-mid January 2023. All U11,U13, U15, and U18 teams in Manitoba will receive a package from their Minor Hockey Association that includes rolls of green tape (green is the colour of mental health), phone/laptop stickers, Buddy cards (Bag tags for U11 and U13) and sample coaches chats.
In addition to the Buddy Check for Jesse swag for your athletes, there are Coaches Notes that provide a bit of a guideline of what to say and what to talk about during your Buddy Check talk.
Coaches: You do NOT need to be mental health experts to give this talk, you simply need to provide a safe space for your players and open up the conversation around mental health and what it means to support one another both on and of the ice. You have resources to help you and please feel free to review the website!
Our Hockey Manitoba Buddy Check Events will take place between January 20, 2023 – March 5, 2023.
Our hope is that by opening up the conversation about mental health, we begin to normalize checking in on one another and destigmatize mental health disorders. We hope this Buddy Check talk will encourage teammates to support one another and become more aware of potential mental health issues so they are more prepared to step in with support when they see a teammate, friend or family member struggling. We hope that this can all lead to an improvement in the culture of sport.
Jesse’s family hopes that through creating the program in Jesse’s honor, it will help other youth and families.
Please note: There may be additional packages available that could be sent out on a first-come, first-serve basis. More information will be shared in early January 2023.
For more info on the Buddy Check program, go to www.BuddyCheckForJesse.com.