Mental Health and Wellbeing for AFLW

In a very short time, AFLW has become a major part of the Australian Sporting landscape.  Its commitment to supporting opportunities for women to participate and thrive in grass roots AFL through to the professional competition is unwavering. The vision for the mental health and wellbeing of girls and women in AFL is that they thrive.

Our Player Development Practice Leadership

AFLW has a game changing partnership with BHP that has supported the employment of dedicated Player Development Managers (PDMs) in each of the 14 AFLW Clubs and an AFLW Practice Lead. The AFLW Mental Health Practice Lead sits in the Mental health and Wellbeing Team at the AFL and provides the team of PDMs with best practice guidance, supervision and professional development to ensure all AFLW players receive continuity of care and support for their wellbeing and personal development across the league.

AFLW Player Development Principles of Best Practice
AFLW Player Development Principles of Best Practice is a guide produced by the AFL Mental Health and Wellbeing Team. Download the Principles.

The principles of best practice were informed by research from both Deakin and La Trobe Universities.

AFLW: Supporting inclusive cultures
Access the Deakin Study.

Why are Principles of Best Practice Needed?
The Principles of Best Practice were compiled to continue to shape a shared understanding across AFLW clubs of how to support the needs of female players, both as individuals and as athletes.  The guide outlines five core pillars of practice that assists in navigating support for female athletes, providing them with opportunities and an environment to thrive.

Who is the Guide for?
All staff at AFLW clubs would benefit from reviewing the principles. However, this resource is intended specifically as a guide for AFLW Player Development Managers.  There may be similarities that lie in the experiences of other elite or professional female athletes.  Download the Principles.

AFLW Practice Notes for PDMs
To assist in safe and effective practice provided by the AFLW PDMs, Practice Notes have been developed to guide best practice in the player development environment.

Best Practice Note on Professional Conduct
The first principle of Best Practice - Leading Player Development – ensures there are safe and trusted relationships that support the players, and there is responsibility and accountability in the helping relationships that Player Development Managers build. 

Empowering Female Players: menstrual health

Players across the competition need women’s health and wellbeing information tailored to their specific needs as female athletes. Menstrual Health and athletic performance is a critical intersection for female athletes in all sports. The AFL Talent Pathway recently teamed up with the Female Athlete Network (FAN) to develop a resource (Secret Supepower. Period.) to support aspiring AFLW players to become more informed on their menstrual cycle and how it can impact their on-field performance. 

Extra Information
The AIS have produced a Female Performance and Health initiative, delivering education and resources bespoke to female athlete health and performance. Download female athlete resources.

A suite of Education modules for athletes, parents, coaches and medical practitioners have been developed. These modules aim to increase your knowledge about the menstrual cycle, menstrual abnormalities, puberty and hormonal contraception.