The shutdown of football in some states in 2020 took away a physical and social outlet for many people. Being distanced from the football communities, destabilised a sense of belonging and connection that they feel with their Clubs.
Now that we are able to return to our Club community, rebuilding the protective factors for wellbeing are extremely important to ensure people feel safe socially and emotionally.
The video above speaks about the importance of the Mental Health Continuum - a way of helping people understand and check in with the different aspects of mental health. It represents the idea that mental health changes over time in response to different stressors and experiences. Managing mental health is important at all stages of the continuum.
So how does a club promote and support Mental Health?
1. Mental Health is everyone’s responsibility - We all have a part to play in maintaining and managing our own mental health, as well as playing a role in helping others within the club seek help early when problems arise.
2. Know the signs - identifying signs early is important, as it leads to early intervention. Over a two week or more period, if you have noticed someone at the club experience the below signs, It may be time to express your concern, and ask them if they are ok.
- Moodiness, irritability, or tearing up
- Lacking energy and motivation around the club
- Running late, or missing training all together for no reason
- Or becoming withdrawn from teammates, and the club
3.Provide Access to appropriate mental health support and resources - You may have someone at the club to help players and volunteers discover what professional networks might work best. The links below have some great AFL specific resources.
Handball at Home Resources - Mental health, wellbeing, and online safety resources to support football communities.
Mental Health Education - Support services & stories from the AFL Industry.
Other Player Welfare Resources - AFL is committed to ensuring safe, welcoming and inclusive environments for all people involved in Australian Football.