The AFL is pleased to share a collection of mental health, wellbeing, and online safety resources, to provide further support for football communities during the impacts of COVID-19.
The mental health and wellbeing resources will include information for fans, players, clubs and administrators to promote wellbeing and provide mental health support for the football community during the shutdown, while the new online safety resources have been developed in collaboration with Australia's eSafety Commissioner.
A guide on 'Where to seek help' for clubs and leagues is now available, and is designed to provide guidance for administrators, volunteers, and their families on the immediate support available for those feeling isolated or stressed during COVID-19.
>> SEE THE FULL ESAFETY INFOGRAPHIC BELOW
The AFL's "Guide to wellbeing during COVID-19" is also available and addresses the social and emotional impacts of the mandatory COVID-19 isolation period with practical wellbeing tips based on positive psychology to help football communities with initial adjustment and beyond.
The AFL's Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Dr Kate Hall, acknowledges the role the AFL can play during this time is to connect people to wellbeing resources and promote trusted online mental health support services for the community.
"COVID-19 has interrupted many of the critical building blocks of wellbeing for most football communities and families – team sport, connection, routine, purpose and feeling safe. The AFL Mental Health and Wellbeing resources have been developed to support our football communities and fans during this ongoing period.
>> SEE ALL THE RESOURCE GUIDE LINKS BELOW
"There are many proactive things we can do to take care of our wellbeing whilst adjusting our lifestyles and following the Australian Government's recommendation around isolation," Dr Hall said.
The AFL has also joined forces with Australia's eSafety Commissioner to release a set of easy-to-follow guidelines to help fans play it safe and fair – online and offline.
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the issue of online safety is one that affects people of all ages and walks of life, which is why this collaboration with the AFL, with its huge fan base, is such a great way to encourage footy fans to consider the impact online abuse can have on all of us.
"We know that people can tend to vent their frustrations online and this can be very damaging to the person on the receiving end. But rather than just handballing the problem to someone else, we need make a mark and tackle this together.
"Change begins with one person – you – and by thinking about how you conduct yourself and interact with others online and changing your behaviour, you can help change the game. Just as the players play it safe and fair on the field, we all need to play it safe and fair online."
Tanya Hosch, General Manager for Social Policy and Inclusion said the need to provide further support to the online community is relevant now more than ever.
"Just like on the footy field, there is no place for abuse, hate or discrimination online. We are committed to ensure our players, staff, fans, and footy families can feel safe in the AFL environment, and that includes online platforms. We all need to commit to this together, we want everyone to feel safe wherever they engage with our great game.
"Our relationship with the eSafety Commissioner has provided us with ability to spread their advice on best practice online behaviours which are designed to keep our online community supported and safe," said Hosch.
The resources are available via AFL.com.au/COVID-19, with information for those requiring immediate assistance below.
AFL Mental Health and Wellbeing resources:
eSafety Commissioner information and resources:
The eSafety website has lots of tips for staying safe online, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can find counselling and support services listed in eSafety's wellbeing directory.
Visit the eSafety website for further information, including tips for maintaining your wellbeing during COVID-19 (see the eSafety infographic below)
Lifeline information and resources
Lifeline is an Official Charity Partner of the AFL, which provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Lifeline is a national charity and relies on community support. Donate online or call 1800 800 768 to support Lifeline.
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.