Our Inspiration

Buddy Check for Jesse was founded in memory of Jesse Short-Gershman, who died by suicide on October 29, 2014, at the age of 22. Jesse, an avid golfer and swimmer, cherished his family deeply. In response to their profound loss, Jesse’s Dad, a Sport Medicine Physician, initiated this program to promote change and encourage open discussions about mental health among youth athletes. Buddy Check for Jesse aspires to honour Jesse’s memory by empowering today’s youth to be the changemakers needed to transform the conversation around mental well-being.

Our Mission

At Buddy Check for Jesse, we empower coaches across Canada to champion mental well-being through the power of youth sports. Through Buddy Check events and supportive resources like Coaches’ Chats, we provide the tools necessary for facilitating meaningful mental health discussions. Our aim is to cultivate an environment where mental health is openly discussed, understood, and supported.

What We Do

  1. Buddy Check Events: Our primary initiative involves organizing Buddy Check events with teams, organizations, and associations. These events feature the distribution of green swag—the color of mental health awareness—and serve as the platform for Coaches’ Chats. These gatherings visibly unify participants in their commitment to mental health discussions.
  2. Coaches’ Chats: These discussions are conducted during Buddy Check events. We provide coaches with scripts and guidelines for 10-15 minute chats that encourage open dialogue about mental health, kindness, and compassion aiming to reduce stigma and enhance understanding among athletes. Athletes are introduced to the concept of checking on (“Buddy Checking”) each other, and those in their friend and family community.
  3. Providing Resources and Swag: We supply teams with Buddy Check swag and educational materials that not only promote team unity but also support coaches in leading effective mental health discussions.
  4. Engaging Communities: Beyond individual teams, we strive to involve families and local communities in our mental health initiatives. Through our events and resources, we foster an inclusive atmosphere that bolsters communal support and enriches the mental health dialogue in sports.
  5. Supporting Fundraisers and Local Community Events: We actively participate in and support fundraisers and community events that focus on sports and youth mental well-being. These events help us raise awareness and funds to further our mission and reach more communities.
  6. Online and Social Media Presence: We leverage our online and social media platforms to connect with the community, share valuable resources, and promote our events. Follow us on social media to stay updated on our initiatives and join the conversation about youth mental health.
  7. Host Your Own Fundraiser: Organizations and individuals can “pay it forward” by hosting their own Buddy Check event. We provide the tools and support needed to set up a personalized web page for an event, making it easy to organize and promote.

Our Vision

Driven by a commitment to create change, Buddy Check for Jesse envisions a future where mental health is as prioritized as physical health in youth sports across Canada. We aim for a cultural shift where young athletes feel empowered to discuss their mental health issues openly and supportively. Through the active engagement of coaches and the community at Buddy Check events, we seek to make mental health conversations a standard and celebrated part of youth sports.

Join Us

Help us create a supportive and transformative sporting environment: participate in Buddy Check for Jesse events, wear green, and advocate for mental health awareness. Together, we can empower a new generation of athletes to speak openly about their mental health challenges.

Buddy Check for Jesse is more than just an initiative—it’s a movement dedicated to fostering systemic change in the sports community and a commitment to ensuring every young athlete can thrive in a supportive and understanding environment. Let us be the change together.

Follow us on our social media channels for the latest updates, resources, and ways to get involved. Join our online community to support and engage in meaningful conversations about youth mental health.