The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has partnered with the AFL’s Tackle Your Feelings program to upskill community Aussie Rules coaches in mental health education.
The APS will support the program by recruiting local psychologists to facilitate the Tackle Your Feelings program within their local region.
After a successful pilot in 2019, the program is expanding its reach across Australia to help more community coaches build the skills to understand, recognise and manage signs of mental health.
“This partnership with the APS is crucial to our ability to scale the program in 2020 and beyond,” AFL Coaches Association CEO Mark Brayshaw said. “The APS brings a network of 24,000 member psychologists across the country, including some hard-to-reach areas of Australia. Not only will community football clubs have access to a program delivered by a psychologist, but we will also leave an ongoing resource for the community to access.”
APS Chief Executive Officer Frances Mirabelli said APS members were thrilled to be contributing to the program.
“As the largest mental health workforce in Australia, psychologists support their local communities every day in the identification, management and treatment of mental ill-health. Psychologists are committed to raising awareness and breaking down stigma when it comes to mental illness, because we know this is critical to ensuring Australians seek the mental health care and support they need, when they need it. Partnering with Tackle Your Feelings provides a very special opportunity for us to continue this important work,” she said.
Through the Tackle Your Feelings program, coaches and administrators are delivered a one hour face-to-face training session, led by expert psychologists, before completing online modules to become accredited.
The program aims to reach 500 clubs, 5000 community coaches and 50,000 players and parents over the next five years.
Neville Jetta (Melbourne FC), Kara Donnellan (Fremantle FC) and Leon Cameron (GWS Giants coach) are the program ambassadors.
Tackle Your Feelings is a collaboration between the AFL Coaches’ Association, the AFL Players’ Association and the Zurich Foundation.