Football-netball clubs have a unique chance to create an environment where players can talk openly about their mental health issues, the region's leading sports assembly says.
A new training initiative is being designed for the region that will equip community football-netball clubs with the skills needed to discuss mental health and offer support to any players who might be struggling.
The 'Tackle Your Feelings' program will see interested football and netball coaches participate in a mental health education session delivered by a local psychologist, before undergoing further online learning.
"The Tackle Your Feelings program has come at the right time for our area," Wimmera program coordinator Nic Baird said.
"After a season without football or netball, and some big changes to these sports and the world, this program will be very beneficial to all clubs that take part. (It will) help to identify anyone who maybe struggling more than usual.
"We are aiming to get all the coaches, from the juniors through to seniors, from both football and netball to participate, as well as the boards of football-netball clubs.
"This will help spread the load across the club and give a greater insight for all involved with the day to day running of the club of any given person's mental health, whether they are a player or volunteer"
Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly will oversee the delivery of the program.
Tackle Your Feelings is a joint venture between the AFL Coaches Association, AFL Players' Association and Zurich, based on mental health training delivered to players, coaches and staff in the AFL.
The program is part of a six-year project, launched in 2019, that has already trained more than 1800 local players and 230 coaches from across the country.
AFL Coaches Association chief executive Mark Brayshaw said it was increasingly important for community coaches to understand mental health and become better equipped to support their players.
"From a mental health perspective, there is no difference between the player-coach relationships at the elite level than there is at grassroots level," he said.
"The Tackle Your Feelings program will help grassroots AFL coaches by equipping them with an understanding of mental health so they can look after their players if and when they need it."
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