Tackling Mental Health – Tackle Your Feelings

In 2021 Sports Focus entered a new partnership 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 netball clubs that strives to improve the abilities and awareness of mental health by building skills to foster an environment where players are supported to effectively manage their emotions. Tackle Your Feelings is a joint venture between the AFL Coaches Association, AFL Players’ Association and the Zurich Foundation.

The program was inspired by a mental health education developed for AFL professional coaches and players, consisting of a face-to-face presentation from a psychologist followed by additional online learning. Key club coaches and leaders are provided with the tools to understand, recognise and manage their response to signs of mental health in their players and club members.

The opportunity to support the delivery of Tackle Your Feelings to rural and regional football netball clubs has been invaluable. This type of training for our coaches and other key club leaders is not readily available or is often limited due to barriers of cost. Local clubs jumped at the opportunity to take part and we received overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who were involved.

The local psychologists were able to create an environment whereby people openly shared their own experiences and challenges with mental health, which allowed for some really rich conversation. These sessions identified what we already knew; that the need is real in our rural clubs and has only become more so during the last 18 months. Volunteers are dealing with members facing serious mental health challenges but they do not feel equipped to provide support. Tackle Your Feelings has been a great first step for clubs people to build their mental health literacy and feel confident in having a conversation.

“The fact we had @ 25 club personal in attendance during lock downs is a real positive. This area of the club has been a void in recent years and with the current covid pandemic changing the landscape in a very substantial and quick way. The coaches and executive have ensured the importance of this sector is front and centre within our club, and our message to our coaches is that we need to ensure we do more for our club than just turn up and coach/play.” – participant and club Football Director

As we move in to 2022, Sports Focus will be expanding the delivery of this program to football netball clubs across the region as the need for mental health support in our clubs will be greater than ever before.

If your club would like to find out more about the Tackle Your Feelings program please CONTACT US.