Real Talk


1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental or emotional health issue each year.

Student athletes are at a higher risk for concern due to the added pressures of being both a student and an athlete.  

1 - 3 Athletes on each Lakers Athletics team this year will likely experience a mental health issue, according to statistics.

What is REAL TALK?

REAL TALK is an initiative developed by Nipissing University’s Student Counselling Services in partnership with Lakers athletics. 

Our Goal: To better integrate mental health and wellness initiatives into the lives of athletes by creating relationships between athletes and mental health support professionals.


All Lakers athletes will receive the safeTALK suicide prevention and awareness training.

Through this training athletes will learn to: 

  • Notice and respond to situations where thoughts of suicide might be present 
  • Recognize that invitations for help are often overlooked 
  • Move beyond the common tendency to miss, dismiss, and avoid suicide
  • Apply the TALK steps: Tell, Ask, Listen, and Keep safe 
  • Know community resources and how to connect someone with thoughts of suicide to the resources for further help

Point Person: Each Nipissing Lakers Varsity team will have a designated athlete as the REAL TALK point person for their team. This point person will be identified to their teammates who are encouraged to connect with them if they are struggling and need to discuss and connect available supports. 

Coaches: All coaches will complete a comprehensive 2 day Mental Health First Aid - Adults who Interact with Youth Training. This prepares individuals to provide initial support to someone who may be experiencing a mental health crisis or developing mental health concerns.  

By developing relationships we hope to encourage a REAL and safe space that allows for deeper life conversations amongst athletes, coaches and trainers, and Student Counselling Services.