ConnexOntario is proud to be partnering with Olympic Champion Damian Warner for our 2022 Mental Health Matters Campaign to increase awareness and reduce the negative stigma around mental health and addiction issues. Damian is a professional track and field athlete and keeping his mental health in the best shape is something he takes seriously.

Damian Warner is a London, based professional track and field athlete who represented Canada at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. At the games, he set an Olympic Decathlon best in the 110m hurdles and an Olympic record in the 1500m. He made history as the first Canadian to win gold in the Decathlon and was named the Canadian Press’ Athlete of the Year after his win, which is widely regarded as the most complete medal at the Olympics.

"I understand the necessity to improve mental health and that is something that ConnexOntario is tackling and I thought that it was a natural fit for us to partner together and I’m really looking forward to it."

In an interview with The Morning Show Sound Bites, Warner speaks to some of the challenges he has faced with mental health as a top-performing athlete. He says people have a perception that things are always perfect and athletes do not deal with mental health however he explains that when preparing for the games in Tokyo, he had a battle of trying to be as confident as possible and at the same time going through human struggles, seeing his top competitors on social media and struggling with self-doubt. Over the years he has partnered with sports therapists and mental coaches to improve his mental health and has seen the benefits. Warner says it’s something that can always be improved and not a weakness. His team and his support system around him help him stay on track and achieve his goals. In a world where we get caught up being very busy, Warner says it’s important to have time for yourself and do something that quiets your mind as well as have a strong support system around you, says Warner, people that you can talk to and express your doubts and inspirations to.

“If you don’t have those people around you then there’s hotlines out there like ConnexOntario where you can talk to them and it’s a confidential service so you can express your concerns to them and they can maybe help you set you on the path you’re looking for”.

Warner partnered with ConnexOntario because he takes his mental health seriously and believes that mental health is always something you can improve on and can become a strength.

On The Morning Show With Devon Peacock, when asked about the expectations he faces as an athlete representing Canada he says that he does it for his family, friends, London community, and his team. “Sometimes the toughest expectations are the ones we place on ourselves”, which is a battle he says that all athletes deal with and the expectations can be tough to bear. When breaking through the stigmas that surround mental health, Warner says that mental health is something that needs to be worked on, just like physical health and it’s important to focus on your mental health and physical health at the same time to be able to compete for your best. At the end of the day, Warner says that athletes are human and there are a lot of things that they deal with. He understands the necessity to improve mental health and says the partnership with ConnexOntario is a natural fit.

We are proud to partner with Damian for our Mental Health Matters campaign to bridge the gap between accessing services and furthering our reach across Ontario, continuing to make a positive impact to end the stigma surrounding mental health. You can keep up with our partnership with Damian on our socials @ConntexOntario and keep up with Damian and all his success @Damian.Warner on Instagram and @DamianWarner on Twitter.