The Ottawa Sport Council will be hosting a free webinar for community sports organizations titled Mental Health, Crisis Support & Resources this coming Tuesday, April 12 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Led by Ottawa Public Health, the workshop will be tailored to focus on community sport organizations seeking to support participants, coaches, volunteers, and staff as they return to play following the pandemic.
“We’ve had a lot of questions from our organizations: What do I do if somebody comes to me and they’ve got a crisis? How do I deal with it? What should I be doing?” OSC executive director Marci Morris signals.
“So many of our organizations are run by volunteers, and they don’t necessarily have the expertise on how to deal with somebody who might be struggling with mental health, or on the flip side, how to be promoting positive mental health – what are the things that they can be doing to be proactive about it?
“While the pandemic waves the flag that this is an issue, the material is just as important, not just in a crisis reaction, but also in a proactive way – how do you ensure the best, most positive, safe and welcoming experience for your participants?”
The topic is particularly poignant with increased attention on creating “safe sport” environments, Morris adds, and of course the “huge effect” COVID’s had on individuals’ mental health.
“We have to be looking not just at the physical health of participants, but also the mental health of participants,” she highlights. “The things that you would be doing to keep your physical health in the right shape, you want to be doing the same sort of things around your mental health.”
Public health nurse Norma Monterroza from OPH’s mental health team will kick off the webinar, followed by discussions between participating members of the sports community on what they’ve observed.
“We’re really coming together as a community to talk about it,” Morris underlines. “Norma will be our subject matter expert, but it’s definitely not just a dump of information – it’s very much a discussion.”
The collaboration between OSC and OPH on the webinar comes after working together very closely throughout the pandemic. Understanding how provincial regulations would affect sports organizations in Ottawa, and the Ottawa Return to Play Roadmap, were among their many ongoing collaborative projects.
“There have been a lot of positives that have come out of the pandemic. One of them has been that our sector, as a whole, is working much closer together,” Morris indicates, and the “great relationship” created between OSC and OPH is a perfect example.
“The pandemic opened the doors for that partnership, but our goal is to keep that partnership strong so that we’re being proactive in the future.”
Registration for the Mental Health, Crisis Support & Resources webinar is available through OSC’s website.
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