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AFL Industry Mental Health Clinical Governance Framework

The AFL Industry Mental Health Clinical Governance Framework (The Framework) was developed to guide safe and effective mental healthcare in AFL Clubs. It also covers the professional mental healthcare networks funded by the AFLPA and the AFL who support AFL and AFLW players and Industry staff. The Framework was developed with a working group of health professionals and representatives from across the AFL, healthcare, legal and academic sectors.The Framework outlines a set of guiding principles for clinical governance to ensure the delivery of safe and high-quality mental healthcare services to our players and people.

What is Clinical Governance?
Clinical governance in the Framework refers to a systematic and integrated process of accountability across the AFL industry for the provision of quality mental healthcare. It has a fundamental purpose of driving excellence and continuous improvement of consumer centred care. 

The Framework has been established to:

  • Achieve the best possible health outcomes for consumers and patients receiving mental healthcare
  • Ensure planning and resource allocation supports the achievement of outcomes
  • Ensure the provision of mental healthcare services that are outcome orientated, evidence based and clinically justified
  • Support rigorous measurement of performance outcomes
  • Ensure strong clinical leadership and ownership
  • Ensure continuous improvement in quality and safety
  • Promote organisational culture that supports consumer safety and quality improvement initiatives through committee structures, systems and processes
  • Ensure compliance with legislative and departmental policy requirements and accreditation of mental healthcare providers
  • Ensure all participants in the AFL industry have clearly defined roles and responsibilities including the essential partnership between consumers and healthcare providers and employers
  • Ensure healthcare professionals have clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the management of consumers

Read the Industry Mental Health Clinical Governance Framework.

Read a brief 1 page Clinical Governance Summary.

How to Seek Help for Mental Health Challenges Navigator Tool

An important part of being a mental health capable and aware as an industry is making sure our people and players know the early signs of mental ill-health and know where to go for help. This is termed mental health literacy and it’s a critical part of early intervention approaches and suicide prevention. Seeking help early is important for anyone experiencing mental health challenges.  But it is never too late. 

Why is it so Important to Tackle Stigma?
Stigma creates barriers to asking for help. Barriers such as stigma and low levels of mental health literacy can mean that individuals struggling with mental health challenges do not get the support or help they need at the earliest stage. Without appropriate support, symptoms can become worse resulting in poorer health, social and occupational outcomes. That’s why core principles of the AFL mental health strategy include reducing stigma, identifying signs early and promoting help seeking.

The AFL Mental Health and Wellbeing team has compiled a series of resources for clubs, community members and AFL Industry staff to help them navigate the mental health treatment and support services available to people who are seeking support for their mental health and wellbeing. Inspired by the Mental Health Continuum, the How to Seek Help tool outlines the experiences of mental health along the continuum, and guides people through the steps to seeking help at all steps in the continuum. The guide acknowledges that there is no one size fits all for mental health and wellbeing services and we all need options. Some of the different options include online self directed programs, telephone counselling or face to face mental health care planning.

The How to Seek Help Navigator Tool is for anyone looking for information on where they can find help for themselves or others.

How to Choose a Mental Health and Wellbeing Program for Your Football Club: a rapid evidence guide

There are many organisations and charities offering mental health and wellbeing programs to AFL community and state league Clubs. Clubs have a duty of care to ensure that the providers they select are safe and do no harm to the health and wellbeing of their participants and members.

The AFL, in partnership with Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Orygen, have reviewed many of the programs available and developed a guide to help clubs make informed decisions about how to choose mental health promotion and prevention programs for their club.

Download the Orygen and AFL Evidence Guide.

What is a Rapid Evidence Guide? 
The Orygen and AFL rapid evidence guide can help sporting teams make best practice decisions about mental health promotion and early intervention programs. It includes things to look out for when choosing a program and choice-style ratings of the evidence to support a program, which has been independently reviewed. It is an easy way to determine if a program is safe, is delivered by credentialed providers, and that the program has the impact of what it claims to achieve.

“There’s a need for all sporting clubs – regardless of code -  to be guided by evidence as to what works for promoting and responding to mental health, especially given that there are so many programs available in this space now,” said lead author and Head of Elite Sports and Mental Health at Orygen, Associate Professor Rosemary Purcell.

AFL Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing Dr Kate Hall said while the importance of mental health in sport is increasingly recognised and understood, this rapid evidence guide was designed to help sporting clubs make informed choices about mental health promotion programs. 

“As part of our industry response to mental health, we have worked closely with youth mental health researchers at Orygen to develop this Guide for sporting clubs to understand how to safely and effectively implement mental health promotion and prevention programs. The resource will help our clubs to address one of the focus areas for the AFL mental health strategy - building protective factors for wellbeing, earlier in a player’s life” Dr Hall said.

“We know that football clubs and sporting teams across the country are an important part of our community responses to mental health. We want all clubs, across all levels, to educate and empower young players to manage their mental health, understand the signs of mental ill health and know where to get help for themselves and their teammates” Dr Hall said.

Need more information?
Download the Vic Health Toolkit to help you select the right mental health and wellbeing program for your Club.