By Ben Gibson (Melbournefc.com.au)
ALTHOUGH Neville Jetta has been sidelined for much of the season, he continues to do wonderful things off the field.
Melbourne’s vice-captain is having a positive impact in the grassroots AFL community, using his ambassadorial role for the Tackle Your Feelings campaign to promote positive change in mental health.
The heart of the program is mental health training, which is being rolled out to community footy clubs all around Australia, by the same psychologists who train players and staff members at professional clubs.
“I’m obviously incredibly proud to be a part of something like this,” Jetta told Melbourne Media.
“To be able to create positive change within our community, especially down in our local leagues where the program is going to be really, really evident, is special.
“The face-to-face videos, not only of myself but Kara Donnellan and Leon Cameron, for us to be a part of that, I’m very proud.”
The campaign is one that is close to Jetta’s heart, after his wife, Sam, came out to talk about her personal issues.
“I’m very proud of Sam and how she first and foremost agreed to speak on camera about her mental health over the last few years, which has allowed me to be a part of this program,” Jetta said.
Now that he is so heavily involved, he hopes to educate people about its services and provide support for the community.
“The videos we made rolled into a few face-to-face sessions and I’ve got a few other appearances that will pop up in the near future,” Jetta said.
“I get to speak about my experiences both personally, but also with Sam, and about mental health in general, so to have those conversations is really important.”
Tackle Your Feelings is being piloted this year with a range of football clubs in the local community, including several in the Dees’ heartland of Melbourne and Alice Springs.
Other professional clubs including GWS, Gold Coast and St Kilda, have also got involved to support the wellbeing and development of clubs in their local areas.
“At Zurich Australia, we have witnessed the impact of mental ill-health upon our customers directly,” CEO Life & Investments Tim Bailey said.
“Tackle Your Feelings is our community action plan, which helps us play a part in quelling the tide of rising mental illness rates in our country.
“Together with the AFL Coaches Association and AFL Players Associations, our aim is to extend the mental health training offered to the professional AFL clubs into grassroots community clubs all around the country.”
Need Support? If you know someone who requires urgent assistance or support, please contact:
Suicide call back service: 1300 659 467
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
Support for AFL Players: If you are a current or past AFL Player and would like to know more about our specialised wellbeing and mental health services please contact the AFL Players’ Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel. 03-8651 4300 (Mon to Fri, 9am – 5pm).