The Canadian Olympic Committee have renewed their partnership with LifeWorks as as the official mental health partner of Team Canada ©COC

Wellbeing solutions company LifeWorks and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) have announced that they have renewed their partnership following the team’s success at Tokyo 2020.

Canada won a total of 11 medals in the Japanese capital, including seven gold – their highest number since Barcelona 1992.

LifeWorks helped the team prepare for the re-arranged Games as the official mental health partner of Team Canada and as the founding partner of "Game Plan", Canada’s national team athlete wellness programme.

Under the new deal, which will cover the next two Winter Olympics at Beijing 2022 and Milan Cortina 2026 and Summer editions at Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028, LifeWorks will continue to offer athletes, coaches, staff and their family members mental health resources.

"We are very proud of Team Canada’s performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and we are excited to continue our commitment as their mental health partner," said Stephen Liptrap, the President and chief executive officer of LifeWorks.

"We are dedicated to offering the best digital mental health services to the sports community and are looking forward to seeing Canadian athletes develop stronger personal and professional skills beyond their years as active Olympic athletes."

The partnership between Toronto-based LifeWorks and the COC began in September 2015, with the launch of Game Plan.

The initial offering included career management support, networking, education, mental health training, personal and life skill development, and awareness and access to health resources.

With the partnership renewal, athletes, staff and their families also have access to digital services, including a wellbeing platform that provides 24/7 counselling and an internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) programme.

Caileigh Filmer, left, credited the support of LifeWorks for helping her win an Olympic bronze medal in the women's coxless pairs at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Caileigh Filmer, left, credited the support of LifeWorks for helping her win an Olympic bronze medal in the women's coxless pairs at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

"Thanks to our partnership with LifeWorks, Team Canada athletes have one of the most robust mental health and wellness plans in the world," said David Shoemaker, the COC chief executive.

"With LifeWorks as a foundation and crucial resource, a specialized network of mental health professionals, and Game Plan, our athlete wellness programme, Team Canada has never been in a better position to support athletes’ success on and off the field of play, especially throughout the pandemic."

Rower Caileigh Filmer, an Olympic bronze medallist in the women’s coxless pairs at Tokyo 2020 after overcoming her own mental health issues, emphasised the importance of mental health for athlete wellbeing.

"My own personal mental health and the mental health of the greater athlete community is something incredibly important to me," she said.

"Asking for help and letting those around you know you are facing challenges is the first and often most difficult step.

"It is not a sign of weakness to say you are struggling, but rather a sign of strength to know you are going to start facing these challenges.

"Everyone’s experiences with mental health might look a little bit different, but what should not change is the feeling of knowing you have a support system around you.

"Counselling and CBT has been a fundamental part in helping me with my own battle with depression, and the fact that others will have the ability to access similar resources is a major contribution in supporting the mental health of Canadian athletes."