AFL Mental Health and Wellbeing Team


Our Team 

Dr Kate Hall Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing
Kate holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the ANU, is a Clinical Psychologist and a senior academic. She leads the AFL’s Mental Health and Wellbeing team and an Industry wide Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy that has a dual focus: the prevention of mental ill-health and safe and effective responses to mental health challenges. Her role champions wellbeing cultures and mentally fit and healthy systems across the AFL to support every player to thrive in football and life. Her clinical research track record focusses on the mental health of adolescents and young adults and she has a national reputation in translating research into evidence informed policy, education and practice to ultimately improve mental health and wellbeing outcomes for individuals and communities.

Emma Harris, AFL/W Mental Health Practice Lead 
Emma holds a Masters in Applied Psychology and is a Sport and Exercise Psychologist with over 10 years’ experience in the high-performance sporting industry working with elite, professional and Olympic athletes and teams across many sporting codes. Her role draws on her expertise in embedding wellbeing in high performance environments to inform policy, education and best practice initiatives to enhance the wellbeing and performance of AFL and AFLW players. Emma leads the Talent wellbeing coordinators in Tasmania and provides practice leadership in player development, mental health and wellbeing across all AFL and AFLW Clubs.  She also leads the Mental Health Referral Network for Club Doctors and Psychologists. 

Nicky Couston, National Wellbeing Manager
Nicky holds a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology and has been in the AFL industry for 17 years. She leads the AFL’s wellbeing science initiatives to support mentally fit players and football communities nationally. Her team supports the wellbeing and development of young elite and aspiring players in the AFL Talent pathways. The Talent pathways wellbeing program equips the future generation of AFL and AFLW players with mental fitness skills and delivers a wellbeing curriculum to support all young players in the pathways to thrive in football and life. Nicky oversees the AFL’s implementation of Movember’s Ahead of the Game program, supporting football communities across Australia to be mentally fit, have a greater understanding of mental health, and stronger resilience to deal with challenges in football and life.

Nioka Tyson Social and Emotional Wellbeing Practice Lead
Nioka is a Yuwalaraay and Gamilaraay woman with cultural connections to the Kooma nation, from far Northwest NSW. Nioka is a qualified Senior Social Worker with post graduate qualifications in clinical redesign and has come to the AFL from the public health system. As the Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB)  Practice Lead for the AFL, Nioka leads SEWB and psychosocial interventions and case management support for Indigenous Player Development Managers, players and staff across the AFL and AFLW Clubs. Nioka provides clinical leadership and best practice guidance in areas of First Nations Australians player development and SEWB approaches within the AFL and AFLW. She also leads the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association Referral Network for First Nation Australian staff and players within the industry.

Dr Erin Hoare, Mental Health and Wellbeing Research Lead
Erin has a PhD in public health and has previously worked as a Senior Research Fellow in the area of prevention in mental health at Deakin University. Erin has previously been awarded an Australian Rotary Postdoctoral Fellowship, a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship, and she was a Fulbright Scholarship Awardee. Erin has a h-index of 21 and has published in leading academic journals including JAMA Psychiatry, Lancet Psychiatry, and Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. Erin is passionate in developing evidenced informed systems that promote and nurture mental wellbeing. Erin's role at the AFL includes leading external research partnerships, acting as an advisor on research initiatives, Chairing the AFL Research Board, and leading the AFL mental health and wellbeing research action plan. Erin is also a Psychologist having completed the Master of Educational Psychology at the University of Melbourne.

Shaun Vance, Implementation Lead – Ahead of the Game 
Shaun has a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching and was a primary school teacher for 8 years, before making a move into the sports media space. For the past 11 years Shaun has been a senior producer at AFL Digital in the video content team, leading AFLW content and being heavily involved in commercial and editorial projects. Shaun leads the Ahead of the Game implementation team to deliver the Movember funded program to AFL football communities nationally. Ahead of the Game teaches teams how to be mentally fit, have greater understanding of mental health and stronger resilience to deal with challenges in sport and life.

Sarah Godfrey, National Talent Wellbeing Lead
Sarah is an experienced educator and education leader and has delivered positive psychology education in secondary school settings. She has previously worked as the Wellbeing Coordinator for the GWV Rebels. As Talent Wellbeing Lead, Sarah leads a large team of wellbeing coordinators and oversees the Wellbeing program for the Talent Pathway Country regions and National Academies. Sarah’s team supports the wellbeing and development of young elite and aspiring players in Vic country and delivers a wellbeing curriculum to support all young players in the pathways to thrive in football and life.

James Rice, Wellbeing Coordinator – Tas Talent  
James has a Bachelor of Exercise Science and practiced as an exercise physiologist. After some experience in sports performance at the collegiate level, James’ interests lead him to mental health and suicide prevention at the community club level. In his role as Wellbeing Coordinator he works with the Tasmanian Talent team to deliver the AFL Talent wellbeing program to support all players to thrive in football and life. He oversees the delivery of Movember’s Ahead of the Game program across Tasmania. James is also the AFL’s Mental Health First Aid training facilitator

Aiden Jackman – Wellbeing Project Coordinator
Aiden has studied a Bachelor of Education and Associate Degree in Education Support. After time in the education system, Aiden discovered a passion for mental health and wellbeing. In his role as Wellbeing Coordinator for the Tasmanian Devils in the North and Northwest regions he delivers the AFL Talent wellbeing program to allow players to thrive both in and out of football. In his role as Wellbeing Project Coordinator, Aiden works closely with the AFL Mental Health and Wellbeing team to work on projects and resources in the mental health and wellbeing space at the elite and community level.

Talent Pathway Wellbeing Coordinators
Our Talent Pathway Wellbeing Coordinators (WBCs) work directly with young players in regions and Academy programs and deliver a wellbeing curriculum that builds mental fitness to support every player to thrive. WBCs engage players in wellbeing planning and support, critical incident response, safeguarding, wellbeing education sessions, leadership and player advocacy. They work across the Clubs to promote wellbeing literacy and cultures to ensure the next generation of AFL and AFLW players are developing in a mentally fit and healthy sporting environment. Their work contributes to the holistic development of young players, providing them with opportunities to fulfil their potential and build skills to help them navigate the challenges and opportunities in football and life.

Wellbeing Coordinator Area Leads

  • Will Hutchison: Victoria Country Boys
  • Kellie Fallon: Victoria Country Girls 
  • Adele White: Victoria Metro Boys  
  • Brodie West: Victoria Metro Girls

Wellbeing Coordinators

  • Jemma Sharman  – Bendigo Pioneers
  • Jarrod Wiese - Bendigo Pioneers
  • Kellie Fallon - Dandenong Stingrays
  • Darren Jenkins – Dandenong Stingrays
  • Mel Bradley – Gippsland Power
  • David Hobbs - Gippsland Power
  • Will Hutchison – GWV Rebels
  • Shenae Keleher - GWV Rebels
  • Josh Bromley-Lynch – Geelong Falcons
  • Sarah Osborne - Murray Bushrangers
  • Rachel Urquhart  - Oakleigh Chargers
  • Adele White – Oakleigh Chargers
  • Brodie West - Calder Cannons
  • Brett Pallini – Calder Cannons
  • Georgia Stewart - Eastern Ranges
  • Matthew Hartnett – Eastern Ranges
  • Natascha Newton - Northern Knights
  • Darcy Levin – Sandringham Dragons
  • Michael Harper - Sandringham Dragons
  • Julie Richards  – Western Jets
  • Jack Rhodes - Western Jets
  • Aiden Jackman - Tasmania Devils
  • James Rice - Tasmania Devils 
  • Jake McDermott - Tasmania Devils 

The Industry Mental Health and Wellbeing Steering Committee

The purpose of the Steering Committee is to: develop the AFL Industry Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the actions that deliver the strategy;
review, assess and provide objective, independent and timely feedback in relation to the Industry Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and action plans;
support the implementation of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Team’s activities.

Steering Committee Members

Professor Helen Milroy, CertChildPsych MBBS FRANZCP
AFL Commissioner (chair)
Winthrop Professor, University of Western Australia
Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Professor Patrick McGorry, AO Phd, FRCP FRANZCP, FAA, FASSA, FAHMS
Executive Director Orygen Youth Health, Professor of Youth Mental Health University of Melbourne, Director of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation

Mr Paul Marsh
CEO, AFL Players Association

Air Vice-Marshal (ret.) Tracy Smart, AO
Professor, Military and Aerospace Medicine, Australian National University

Dr Mark Cesana
Club doctor Adelaide Football Club; AFLDoctors Association member

Mr Andrew Dillon
EGM Football Operations, Legal and Regulatory, AFL

Mr Ed Barlow, BESS, GradDip Psych, MPsych
Past Player, Psychologist

Mr Brodie Grundy, BESS 
Current AFL Player, Melbourne FC

Ms Alicia Eva, BA, GradDip Psych
Current AFLW Player, GWS

Mr Shane McInerney
Past AFL Umpire, Quality Assurance Manager APAC at Graymont

Brendan Bolton
Assistant Coach, Collingwood FC

Bec Goddard
Coach, Hawthorn Football Club

Kirstan Corben
Director, Danny Frawley Centre

Mr Michael Mitchell
Past AFL Player
Program Manager, Specialist Aboriginal Mental Health Service Metropolitan, WA

Dr Ranjit Menon FRANZCP
Consultant Psychiatrist, Mentalogue Clinic

Sarah Fair
EGM People, AFL

Ben Smith
GM of Player Development, AFL Players Association

Alastair Nicholson
Past Player, CEO of AFL Coaches Association

Matthew Hyde
Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing, North Melbourne Football Club

Angie Bain
Head of Wellbeing, Fremantle Dockers Football Club

Zaita Anderson
National Club Development and Experience Manager, Community Football AFL

Mental Health Team 

Dr Kate Hall, DPsych(Clin) MAPS FCCLP
Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing, AFL

Dr Erin Hoare BPsych MPH, PhD
AFL Mental and Wellbeing Research Lead; Past AFLW Player, NHMRC Fellow


Mr Jason Trethowan
CEO headspace, Youth Mental Health advisor