The Rural Mindset Podcast™ Episode 24 - Men's Mental Health Month with Brandon Thome
On this episode of The Rural Mindset Podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Athletic Therapist Brandon Thome. Brandon is an active therapist and the Executive Director with the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team and started Prairie Therapy based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Brandon has been an active member of the CPRSMT for the last 15 years.
Brandon grew up in Medicine Hat, Alberta around agriculture lifestyle and has seen and experienced the men's mental health culture in various different settings including rodeo, hockey, and university level athletics.
The Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team strives to help athletes in their rodeo careers by providing pre-event care and treatment, acute injury arena coverage, crisis control, and post-event care and follow up. The Team educates and enables competitors to better care for themselves and their injuries, to ensure they get the most out of their lives and rodeo careers. While Prairie Therapy strives to make athletic therapy more accessible in rural environments.
During this interview Brandon and I talk about how mental health and physical health are connected and play a large role in the sport of rodeo. Brandon opens up about the size of the sports medicine team, going down the road, and how the timed event end of the arena doesn't necessarily utilize the resources available.
While at rodeos the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team sees athletes by event and is at as many as the Canadian Professional Rodeo events as they can be at depending on resources and funding.
When we talk about mental health in the western lifestyle, it is important to me to include mental health and performance in the rodeo arena. Brandon talked about mental health vs. mental performance, and how mental health of what is happening at home on the ranches for these competitors in rodeo. There is a huge connection between rodeo sport and mental health on farms, because almost every competitor comes from a rural background. One thing that we struggle with in this lifestyle is being #cowboytough and we don't often talk about things, but now people are opening up about their mental health and struggles.
That's what we need. We need to talk about our struggles and acknowledging when things are tough for you in that moment.
The world of rodeo is different than most other professional sports, because if you were to watch the NBA, NHL, NFL, etc. each of those players has a mental health coach, but rodeo doesn't always work that way. But, it does work in a way similar where you need a village and team outside of yourself to get yourself down the road. We talk about the team being chiropractors, wives, psychologists, athletic therapists, etc.
With sport being 80% mental, Brandon would like to see the future of rodeo being focused more on mental health and mental agility in rodeo sports. If you can put the time into it, Brandon believes that all athletes should have the ability to succeed through utilizing the resources offered to them.
It's hard though, because mental health services cost so much money or you end up waiting a really long time through the public system. It has become inaccessible to get help if you need for some people, but I would like to remind people that there are crisis lines that someone can call if they need.
Here are crisis lines listed by Canadian Mental Health Association:
*please note some of these are support lines and you could be put on hold. If you are in an emergent situation call 911.
- If suicide is a possibility, call 911
- Alberta Mental Health Help Line: 1 (877) 303-2642
- Alberta Addictions Helpline 1 (866) 332-2322
- Distress Line (Edmonton and area): (780) 482-4357
- Distress Centre (Calgary and area): (403) 266-4357
- Distress Line of South Western Alberta: (403) 327-7905
- First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line 1 (855) 242-3310
- Kids Help Phone 1 (800) 668-6868
- Rural Distress Line: 1 (800) 232-7288
- 211 is here to help you find the right community and social services.You can dial 2-1-1 to speak to an Information & Referral Specialist, or search the online community resource directory, or chat online with them from 12-8pm MT daily.
Not sure how to navigate your mental health right now? Here is the resource from Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team
What would Brandon like to see in the future for rodeo and the rural lifestyle?
Most other professional sports have people who talk about their struggles through documentaries and social media platforms. If we can have more advocates, Brandon believes it will be easier.
He'd also like to see more practitioners who understand rural living, rodeo, and agriculture who can be empathetic towards what is happening in such a unique experience. Brandon also notes that we need to be patient sometimes when you find a counsellor or therapist, we need to be willing to advocate for ourselves to find the practitioner that works for you.
Brandon has also been working on getting more information out to people and educational seminars for up and coming rodeo athletes.
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