Collaboration assembles mental health tool for local clubs

June 17, 2022 BY

Read The Play CEO Michael Parker (right) alongside the project's team members at last month's Presentation Lunch. Photos: COMMITTEE FOR GEELONG

A NEW framework surrounding mental health in local sport has been made available to more than 16,000 local clubs across Victoria with organisations throughout Geelong and the Surf Coast to utilise it first.

A joint-partnership between AFL Barwon, Read The Play and the Committee for Geelong has culminated in the production of a 19-page ‘Mentally Healthy Sporting Club Framework’ accessible to local sporting groups stacked with information, tips, and resources beneficial both on and off the field.

“This document is filled with tools and resources that clubs can use and access,” Read The Play CEO Michael Parker said.

“To be honest, while this framework was designed through a collaboration with AFL Barwon and its clubs, the framework is adaptable to any club at any code, particularly in Geelong.”

The framework was made possible through the Committee for Geelong’s 2021/22 ‘Leaders for Geelong’ program.


The Mentally Healthy Sporting Club Framework being presented at last month’s event.


It contains information ranging from helpful contacts to sporting programs catering to clubs, coaches, officials, players, and parents.

Six team-leaders within the Committee for Geelong Joanne Forssman, Jaqui White, Brad Roberts, Josh Delahunty, Brenton Flynn and Emily Matthews helped to lead the charge in completing the project alongside Read The Play and AFL Barwon.

“Mental health has been a constant message from AFL Barwon over the past two to three years because of the pandemic,” Mr Parker said.

“I know AFL Barwon surveys its clubs every year and mental health has been the number one issue for clubs in terms of the challenge they are facing.

“Our clubs have always been great in getting teams on the field, but they are starting to realise they are becoming more of a community hub and these issues are starting to rear their ugly heads.”

Early production of the framework began 12 months ago, and the official unveiling took place at the Committee for Geelong’s Project Presentation Lunch on May 18.

Head to AFL Barwon’s website and open the Club Resources tab to access the full framework.