Improving Mental Health Awareness in Community Sport

For the past two years, Leisure Networks has helped facilitate Tackle Your Feelings, a Mental Health initiative delivered to AFL and netball clubs Australia wide with the support of the AFL Coaches Association, AFL Players’ Association and Zurich Insurance.

The Tackle Your Feelings program is designed to provide mental health education for coaches, committee members and volunteers at community AFL and netball clubs. By providing training to these members, clubs can encourage good mental health practices to flow through their wider community – to participants, players and all members.

“This season, we want to congratulate five of the clubs that participated in the program who have been recipients of the Tackle Your Feelings Club Rewards Program: East Geelong, Bannockburn, Geelong West, St Mary’s and South Barwon.” Says Tim Downes, Project Coordinator at Leisure Networks

As well as participating in a facilitated session with Leisure Networks and local psychologist, these clubs went on to complete a series of further learning modules.

“This ongoing learning and development, and education is a really important part of the program,” explains Tim.

The program focusses on the importance of supporting others around you, particularly during tough times and seeking out the best supports where appropriate. The sessions are facilitated by a local psychologist and clubs have an opportunity to reach out to this psychologist for ongoing support beyond the program, as necessary.

“The offer of the program was very timely for us, following the passing of our Reserves Coach that impacted many members,” explains Bec Williamson from East Geelong Football and Netball Club who were a Tier 1 winner Tackle Your Feelings Club Rewards Program, receiving a grant for $5,000 towards equipment and apparel for members.

“Committee members, Senior and Junior football and netball coaches came together for the delivery of the workshop,” Bec continues. “It was a great opportunity to learn more about each other while increasing our awareness and understanding of mental health challenges.”

“Following the workshop,” says Bec, “our participants undertook the additional online training and entered the ‘Clubs Reward Program’. This program was a fantastic motivator to get everyone involved. And…… we are delighted to have been selected as a Tier 1 prize winner!”

By providing tools to understand, recognise and respond to mental-ill health issues, the Tackle Your Feelings program also increases participants’ confidence and skills to deal with mental health, both within their clubs and in the broader community.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to be involved with this fantastic initiative,” says Bec.


If you would like to find out more about how your club can get involved and benefit from participation in the Tackle Your Feelings, please contact Tim Downes, Project Coordinator, Sport Rec & Health [email protected]

Leisure Networks respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters of Australia. We are committed to inclusive communities.