“We want to safeguard our playing group”

words by Tackle Your Feelings, Thursday 6 May 2021

Community football clubs are the lifeblood of many Australian towns.

For the Stratford Football and Netball Club this statement rings true.

Located on the Avon River in Victoria, east of Melbourne in Gippsland, the Stratford sporting club connects all aspects of the 2000-strong community.

Devastatingly, in 2020 the club experienced the loss of a player to suicide, rocking the tight-knit group.

Following the confronting period, Stratford worked with Tackle Your Feelings to deliver the program to the club’s coaching staff ahead of their 2021 season and their inaugural mental health round.

Stratford Football Netball Club player Regan Tait said it was critical for the club to invest in resources supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their playing group.

“We want to safeguard our playing group and our members from future devastation like we’ve experienced in the last 12 months,” Tait told Tackle Your Feelings.

“If we can take anything out of tonight and use it going forward, it’s going to be of great benefit.”

Tackle Your Feelings psychologist Luke Jankie said delivering the program to coaches was a vital way for communities to start sharing ideas and conversations around mental health.

“If we can upskill these coaches to understand what mental health and mental ill health is, we can get them to start recognising some of the signs of what it looks like and give them the confidence to initiate conversations and play their role within that supportive process,” he said.

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

Emergency: 000

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 wellbeing@aflplayers.com.au or Tel. 03-8651 4300 (Mon to Fri, 9am – 5pm). Click here to read our disclaimer.