Prince George, British Columbia – The Cariboo Cougars of the BC Major Midget League have launched a new mental wellness initiative called MindRight.

MindRight is a mental health wellness program designed for the Cariboo Cougar’s players and their supporters. Components of the program include mental health and suicide awareness workshops for the coaching staff and players, concussion training, support from a sports psychologist, information about local support services, and community awareness events at home games.

“After coaching hockey for nearly 20 years, I knew there was a piece that was missing. With the Cariboo Cougars, we know that if we’re going to help shape the futures of these young men, we can’t ignore their mental health,” says Trevor Sprague, Head Coach and GM of the Cariboo Cougars.

The idea for the initiative was brought forward by Myles Mattila, 17 year old Assistant Captain of the Cariboo Cougars. Myles is a spokesperson for, sits on the Youth Local Action Team in Prince George, and has been advocating for mental health initiatives around the province for several years.

“Mental health affects everyone no matter what age we are, and youth and young athletes are no exception,” says Myles. “We’re hoping that with MindRight we can help decrease the stigma around these issues, and show everyone that it’s OK to talk about mental health and mental illness.”

On Saturday, October 22 the Cariboo Cougars will play host to the South Island Royals at 3:45 pm in the Kin 1 Arena. The game is dedicated to bringing awareness to mental health, and admission is by donation. The event hopes to strengthen community connections and awareness, and will include informative booths from local agencies. The Cariboo Cougars will be sporting new jerseys in honour of the cause, thanks to a grant from the Make Children First initiative.