PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT

The Buddy Check for Jesse (BCFJ) Society is proud to announce an exciting new partnership! The Pacific Institute of Sport Excellence (PISE) and viaSport have agreed to support BCFJ with our effort to expand the Buddy Check mental health awareness program to coaches and youth across a wide range of sports. 

Our flagship hockey program has realized two successful years of growth with a successful partnership with BC Hockey. During that time, our message has spread to hundreds of coaches and thousands of players…and we’ve heard the call. We know that a number of other sports, on top of hockey, want to get the Buddy Check message to their coaches, players, and families. 

Our partnership with BC Hockey remains and our new partnership with PISE and viaSport comes at a critical time. The concerns of those managing mental health symptoms have been increased by the Covid-19 pandemic. Checking on our teammates, friends, and family, is more important than ever. For almost all players and coaches, the 2020 season will be different. Many youth may not be able to access the support network that sport provides them, and we know that mental concerns don’t take a break during a pandemic. That’s why it’s critical to spread our message as far as we can. These partnerships will enable us to do so.  

BCFJ’s ongoing involvement with ice hockey will remain a cornerstone of our work. Our plan to expand the Buddy Check program throughout western Canada is still ongoing, although Covid-19 has delayed that plan for now.  We will continue developing our hockey campaign in 2021. 

Our Society remains aligned with the BC Amateur Sports Fund  and we continue to welcome donations in support of our efforts to fund mental health resources and educate youth.

This year’s Buddy Check for Jesse weekend will take place October 29th to November 1st. Check out our website and social media to learn more about mental health and discover fun, creative, ways to incorporate green into your team!  

BCFJ would like to extend our thanks to PISE and viaSport for their commitment to our initiative. Expanding the awareness of mental health is critical and Buddy Check for Jesse is excited to do the work! 

The Team at Buddy Check for Jesse

Participate in the Buddy Check for Jesse event to support mental health on the last weekend in October each year.

Support mental health by participating in ‘Buddy Check for Jesse’, a program created in memory of Jesse Short-Gershman. Buddy Check for Jesse was developed for Coaches to deliver to their teams. It began with Jesse’s dad, Dr. Stu Gershman, wanting to help his other two boys feel supported and to make their teammates know how important mental health is.

Stu believes that Coaches are in a unique position to share a message to help raise awareness about mental health issues in their youth participants. Coaches are respected by their players and the players can benefit knowing that their coaches care about them. The idea is to create an environment where teammates support one another and are more aware of potential mental health issues so they are prepared to step in with support when they see a teammate, friend or family member struggling.

Stu’s goal is to destigmatize mental health challenges and to empower and encourage youth and young adults to support one another. He believes that it is our youth that can help change the future and promote kindness, compassion, and tolerance in our communities. Hopefully this will allow more individuals to come forward and receive the help that exists. Only then will our poor statistics and stigmatization of mental health challenges/illnesses be impacted in a meaningful way. 

On the last weekend of October each year, players can use the color green (the color for mental health) in many inventive ways to demonstrate their awareness and support of this message. Green hockey tape has been a mainstay of this message consistent with the program roots beginning with ice hockey.

Buddy Check for Jesse provides resources (cards, posters, coaches chat ideas) to help Coaches share this important message with their teams. Additional resources are available under the “For Your Team” (hyperlink to For Your Team) tab.

Jesse’s family hopes that through creating this program in his honour, it will lead to a healthier, more tolerant and compassionate outlook for our youth as they move forward in our communities.

Owen, age 11, battles panic attacks, anxiety and depression with bravery and courage. Buddy Check for Jesse changed the way he and others viewed his illnesses and gave him the support and purpose he needed for recovery and continued inspiration.