Kicking mental health goals
STRIVING to improve mental health within institutions, not-for-profit SALT (Sport and Life Training) are facilitating educational sessions in sporting clubs and businesses across Victoria.
After working in seven different football clubs over an 18-month period, founder of SALT Dave Burt said he noticed each were suffering after losing someone to suicide and felt compelled to do something.
“The message at every club was, they never saw it coming, which was a powerful introduction for me to start this work,” he said.
“That is why we started SALT, to have these conversations, be proactive and be on the lookout for things that mattered and we’ve been doing it for six years now.
“We started in metro but this year specifically we’re focusing on the regions, so we have a team in Ballarat and Bendigo and we just received a grant to go into the bushfire affected regions.”
Offering their initial wellbeing sessions for free for sporting clubs, SALT aims to ensures all clubs can get involved to empower and educate young members.
With three types of programs on offer, Mr Burt said each of them utilise personal stories and data of the participants to best tailor the sessions outcomes.
“We have a session called Re-Emerge which is about coming out of lockdown or any other trauma and uses research about post traumatic growth to use trauma as a launching pad for a better future,” he said.
“Then we have our mental health and wellbeing course, which is about identifying and understanding mental health, having tools to use, destigmatising, having conversations we need to have, identifying when someone may be struggling and how to intervene.
“The third option is to form a Club Wellbeing Team, including three to six people in the club who do five online sessions, over ten weeks, learning about active listening, connecting people into circles of care, referring to specialists, recognising potential suicide and implementing what they have learnt into club processes.”
While sporting clubs are predominantly SALT’s focus, Mr Burt said business and organisations can also get involved in both the sessions and supporting the continuation of the SALT’s vision.
“Any businesses who are interested in experiencing a mental health and wellbeing session, and to consider in their social responsibility supporting SALT to roll more of these out into their local clubs, to reach out and get it organised,” he said.
“People are coming back with a whole range of baggage now than when they left 18 months ago, some are anxious about jobs, marriages, children, schooling, and some are wondering if they want to be involved with sport anymore.
“Sporting clubs especially need to reframe the context of what their sporting club stands for to create the support that’s needed to people that are coming back.”