In 2019, the WA Country Football League (WACFL) entered a partnership with Healthway to promote the Mental Health Commission’s (MHC) Think Mental Health campaign to support a comprehensive approach to improve mental health and wellbeing outcomes in regional communities.
As the hub of the community, WACFL clubs have been identified as prime settings to deliver health initiatives, as the opportunity to connect with players, volunteers or spectators is proven to have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of individuals within the regional community.
The partnership key messages are;
• …before it all gets too much… Talk to a Mate®
• Talking and listening are powerful; and
• Mental health issues can affect anyone. It may be difficult at first but talking can help.
Country Football clubs championed awareness and activities within the initial partnership, which enabled WACFL to renew the partnership with Healthway in 2022, to deliver the ‘WACFL Community Development Program’. The renewed partnership also includes a collaboration between the Department of Justice, Regional Men’s Health Initiative, the Mental Health Commission, the University of Western Australia, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation and Tackle Your Feelings.
The program is delivered through four phases and aims to build mental health and wellbeing across regional WA, through enhancing club environments, reducing stigma associated with mental health issues and enhancing access to relevant information, education, and training.
A key initiative within phase one of this program is the Think Mental Health Round. WACFL and WAFL clubs will come together across the State to promote mental health awareness, with the round to be held across two weekends in June.
This round aligns with Men’s Health Week (June 12-18), which focuses on not just physical health, but also men’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. It is an important opportunity to highlight the importance of men’s health, and to promote and support the health and wellbeing of men and boys in our communities.
Although the primary target audience for this week is males, Think Mental Health Round places a focus on females, children, and young people. Activities and initiatives surrounding Think Mental Health Round will further connect community members to their football clubs, with clubs providing a diverse range of activities that can be easily accessed by all.
Leading up to Think Mental Health Round in 2023, WACFL launched the ‘WA Footy Wellbeing Hub’. The online platform has been developed in partnership with the Department of Justice and will enhance participants access to ‘best practice’ information, support, and education. To access the ‘WA Footy Wellbeing Hub’ or to find out more about the program visit: https://wellbeing.wacfl.com.au/.
Finally, WACFL would like to thank all Leagues, Clubs and volunteers for their ongoing promotion of the key messages and contribution to raising awareness and reducing stigma around mental illness across the State.
For more information or support, please visit https://www.thinkmentalhealthwa.com.au/.