Article published in The Courier June 19 by Melanie Whelan. Link to original article.
Ballarat Junior Netball coordinator says sports clubs have a responsibility to take a proactive approach to mental health of all members.
Ballarat Junior Football Netball Club’s Cindy Sullivan said clubs can be a great place to establish trust and for teammates to check in on each other.
Ms Sullivan said the session, run by sports-based educator SALT, tackled some difficult content but it was a safe environment for players to open-up and understand each other better.
“Our club wants to make a big impact in relation to mental health. It’s an issue that affects a lot of our families, both the boys and girls,” Ms Sullivan said. “I think it’s so important, with so many issues surrounding young girls these days, to have the tools to help – not just on the court, but off the court, too.”
Ms Sullivan said the girls were made aware that while young men had a higher rate of completed suicides, young females have a higher rate of attempted suicide and self-harm.
She said a netball team naturally offered a special bond and such a session really emphasised how girls still need to check on each other – even if just to show concern for missing a training session.
Mental health, cyber-bullying prevention and drug and alcohol awareness were the key issues junior netballers and footballers in the Alfredton-based club flagged for wanting more club education about.
Ms Sullivan sourced the SALT program through Netball Victoria and the club also has plans to run an ‘Outside the Locker Room’ workshop on cyber-bullying and social media next month for under-17 and under-19 netballers and footballers.
The next ‘Outside the locker room’ session will also involve families with the club keen to create a space to open dialogue for parents and teenagers.
The Ballarat FNC encourages open conversation and awareness of Mental Health in our community.
The ‘Smiling Minds’ Mindfulness App is also a good resource which can be downloaded on on iphone or android and we encourage all to practise ‘mindfulness’. https://www.