In 2018, AFL Victoria begins a new partnership with beyondblue in an effort to raise awareness, and break the stigma surrounding mental health. The partnership came about, after players from AFL Victoria’s 6000-plus clubs nominated the organisation as one of high importance.
To kick off this partnership, this week is the first AFL Victoria beyondblue round. Footy clubs around the state, from junior level to VFL, VFL W, TAC Cup and TAC Cup Girls, are encouraged to wear blue tape on their right wrist in support of the cause.
AFL Victoria CEO Steven Reaper, talked about the initiative with excitement and is keen to see how clubs around the state embrace the round.
“AFL Victoria is proud to partner with beyondblue in 2018 to start conversations, reduce stigma and increase support-seeking for anxiety, depression and suicide prevention within the football community,” Reaper said.
“Our regions and leagues do a fantastic job supporting players, teams and clubs who may be facing their own issues.”
“There is a much greater opportunity for social impact and change with a coordinated approach across the football community, and we look forward to beyondblue being supported at all levels this weekend – AFL, VFL, TAC Cup and community football.”
Sandringham players will be wearing blue tape on their wrists in support of the cause, and beyondblue ambassador Rae Bonney will be a guest speaker at the President’s Lunch held prior to the match.
Sandringham CEO David Cannizzo is proud of the way in which the club has got behind a cause that will encourage the conversation surrounding mental health.
“Our club commitment is focused on raising awareness of anxiety, depression and suicide prevention – and aims to provide support for those that may be experiencing a mental health condition,” Cannizzo said.
“Today our players have got behind a wonderful awareness initiative, with them wearing beyondblue wrist bands.”
It is estimated that in Australia, 45 per cent of people will suffer some form of mental illness within their lifetime. Currently, only 46 percent of those people are seeking professional help. beyondblue offers support services and information to people to help understand mental health.
beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman embraces the importance of the football community getting behind such a cause.
“The support the football community provides to players on the field is powerful and we want to encourage people to provide that same support off the field to foster good mental health,” Harman said.
“At some point in your life, you or someone you know is likely to have experienced depression or anxiety. They are as commonplace and treatable as physical injuries, yet people worry that talking about their mental health struggles is a sign of weakness – it’s not.”
Sandringham urges its supporters to continue this conversation with their families, friends and within their local community sport clubs.