Exciting New Partnership to Tackle mental health in sports clubs

Sports Focus is excited to announce that it has partnered with Tackle Your Feelings to help upskill local level coaches’ understanding of mental health.

Tackle Your Feelings is a mental health training initiative designed for community football clubs that strives to improve the abilities and awareness of mental health by building skills to foster an environment where athletes are supported to effectively manage their emotions.

The initiative will result in community coaches from the Loddon Campaspe region participating in a mental health training session delivered by local psychologists, before undertaking further online learning.

Tackle Your Feelings ambassador and current AFL senior coach, Leon Cameron, who, along with the GWS Giants staff and players, has been through the program, said it’s vital coaches at all levels have the basics to manage what is a complex issue facing many Australians.

“The program gives local footy coaches access to mental health support tools inspired by those used at the professional level,” he said.

“The main thing is to be able to understand mental health because so many people go in and out of mental health issues.

“Coaches shouldn’t be scared to ask someone how they’re going. With the different age groups we all coach you might have to ask in a different way but don’t be scared.”

Sports Focus Project Coordinator, Lauren Fawcett said “During the height of the COVID-19 restrictions Sports Focus undertook over 250 conversations with clubs across our region. The number one concern for community sporting clubs was the mental well-being of their members and communities.”

“The key for clubs in being able to provide a supportive environment though, is having the skills and confidence to identify when someone is not travelling so well, have a conversation with them and support them to get help if needed. Tackle Your Feelings is about upskilling our local community coaches and other key club personnel to do just that. We are really excited to be able to bring this program to regional Victoria.”

Tackle Your Feelings is a joint venture between the AFL Coaches Association, AFL Players’ Association and the Zurich Foundation, with the learning based on the mental health training program delivered by the AFLPA to players, coaches and staff in the AFL industry.

The program is a six-year project, which launched in 2019 with 238 coaches from five states across the country taking part, impacting more than 1800 local players.

AFLCA CEO Mark Brayshaw said it was important for coaches at the grassroots level to understand mental health and become better equipped to support their playing group.

“From a mental health perspective, there is no difference between the player-coach relationships at the elite level than there is at grassroots level,” he said.

“The Tackle Your Feelings program will help grassroots AFL coaches by equipping them with an understanding of mental health so they can look after their players if and when they need it.”

If you’re interested in finding out more please contact Lauren Fawcett at Sports Focus on 5442 3101 or email laurenf@sportsfocus.com.au.


Need Support? If you know someone who requires urgent assistance or support, please contact:

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Mens Line Australia: 1300 78 99 78

Support for AFL Players: If you are a current or past AFL Player and would like to know more about our specialised wellbeing and mental health services please contact the AFL Players’ at wellbeing@aflplayers.com.au or Tel. 03-8651 4300 (Mon to Fri, 9am – 5pm).