Mental wellness top of mind for 2019 Canada Winter Games

By Troy Gillard (Twitter: @Troy_Gillard)
January 30, 2019 - 5:18pm

Organizers for the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer say they’re doing everything they can to look after the mental health and wellness of staff, volunteers, and athletes.

CEO Scott Robinson says they’ve been working to prepare staff as best they can for what’ll be coming their way next month.

“We had two people who are our phycology leads come in and give a presentation on managing ourselves through the Games, managing the pressure,” Robinson says. “We had some good chats about that which was a nice thing for our staff to do.”

Robinson says the Athletes’ Village at RDC will have a full slate of mental health and wellnes services available to athletes who may need them.

“The real focus is to promote mental health and resiliency. So we’ve got services and things in place ready to respond to issues or situations that occur with the athletes, and a full team of psychologists who are volunteering their time.”

Wherever official Games events are taking place, Robinson says they’ll be ready to respond when help is required.

“We’re prepared to deal with on-call or after-hours situations that may occur at a venue, late at night or something like that. We have the services and people in place to make sure that we’re looking after mental health if there are any acute issues that happen.”

The 2019 Canada Winter Games is partnering with the Rotary Clubs of Red Deer to promote mental health, wellness and resiliency by encouraging athletes to embrace their strengths and, when needed, direct them to where help is available.

“We have such an amazing community and such amazing partners,” Robinson says. “We’ve had lots of groups come to us and ask how they can help out. Whether it be the Primary Care Network or various service clubs it’s amazing how people come to you with ideas. In the case of looking after the mental health of our young people, our athletes and everybody involved, we’ve had that led by Rotary, and it’s really exciting for us.”

With the Opening Ceremonies just over two weeks away, Robinson says they’re doing their best to have fun while dealing with the stress that comes with final preparations.

“There’s a lot of pressure on everyone, volunteers and staff, to get ready for what’s coming. It doesn’t matter how much preparation you put into things it still comes down to that last minute stuff.

“It’s really how you respond. You know things aren’t always going to go as planned. But you just have to prepare. We focus one per cent on the problem and 99 per cent on the solution. It does give you some comfort when you think of things that way.”

Winter Games officials say 'Red Deer is ready'

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