AFLPA psychologist David Williams delivered a pilot of the Tackle Your Feelings program at Spring Creek Reserve last year. Photo: SAMUEL KENNY

Local football clubs join mental health program

March 12, 2020 BY

SEVERAL clubs across the AFL Barwon region recently agreed to take part in a program designed to give coaches the skills to recognise and manage signs of mental health issues in themselves and others at the club.

Tackle Your Feelings was initially run for AFL players and staff but has recently been adapted for use within community clubs.

Among the clubs to adopt the program are the Drysdale Hawks Football Club and Birregurra Football and Netball Club.

Drysdale’s football administrator Ben Reyment said the club was very pleased to be part of the initiative.

“We’re really happy to be approached by AFL Barwon and the AFL Coaches Association. We want to make sure we’re looking after the people at our club not just on the field but off it as well.”

The club will have about 40 people initially participate in the program. These numbers will predominantly be coaches and players from the team’s leadership group.

The program is delivered through a mixture of online modules and in-person workshops.

Former Western Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney will be facilitating workshops for AFL Barwon clubs.

Last year Torquay Football Netball Club took part in a pilot of the program.

Club president Jenny Wood said the club gained a lot from the program.

“As a sporting community, we feel we’ve got a responsibility to our players, our parents and our families to give as much support for their mental health as possible.

“To provide something that is a professional education program is really beneficial. We’ll run it again because it’s a great program.”

The program is run by the AFL Players Association and Zurich Foundation. Their ambition is to reach more than 250,000 football participants across Australia by 2025.

Online resources are available at tackleyourfeelings.org.au. Players can get access to these regardless of whether their clubs are involved in the program.