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AFL makes two new specialist appointments in mental health space

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THE AFL has announced two new specialist appointments designed to improve the industry's approach towards mental health and wellbeing.

Dr Kate Hall is the AFL's head of mental health and wellbeing, and Dr Ranjit Menon is the AFL's chief psychiatrist. 

They will start their roles in mid-September. 

The appointments form part of a strategy developed by the Industry Governance Committee, following a comprehensive review into mental health.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the significant appointments would transform the management of mental health and wellbeing for the entire AFL industry.

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"The mental health and wellbeing of everyone involved in our game is a key focus," McLachlan said. 

"We know it is one of the biggest issues facing the industry and these appointments ensure we have prioritised the wellbeing of players, umpires, coaches and football administration staff. 

"The combination of a clinical psychologist in Dr Kate Hall and psychiatrist in Dr Ranjit Menon is a world-first for a professional sporting organisation, positioning the industry towards a best-practice model." - Gillon McLachlan

Dr Hall is an experienced clinician and academic who has dedicated her research and practice to the treatment of addiction and mental health issues for more than 15 years. 

She will be responsible for the Mental Health and Wellbeing Team, and will continue to act as senior lecturer in addiction and mental health at Deakin University one day a week.

Dr Hall will also lead research projects through the AFL's research agreement with Deakin University.

"Kate will lead the mental health and wellbeing function for the AFL; overseeing the strategy, implementation, clinical operations and review of all mental health policies, processes and activities within the AFL, and the wider industry," McLachlan said. 

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Dr Ranjit Menon is an experienced sports psychiatrist and will oversee all medical interventions in his new role at the AFL, having responsibility for the clinical governance of mental healthcare. 

"Dr Menon is a highly regarded psychiatrist who has worked with national sporting organisations and clubs across the country," McLachlan said.

"He has been involved in the psychiatric management of elite athletes since 2014 and his existing relationships with many AFL clubs will serve him well in this role."