Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced it is partnering with Black Dog Institute to provide mental health education and support to the grassroots football community and FFA’s employees, national team players, directors and staff.
The announcement comes after the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, revealed there have been more than one million telehealth calls relating to mental health since mid-March, as families and individuals across the country suffer stress from isolation.
The new initiative will see FFA share Black Dog’s extensive range of mental health resources across its digital properties and large football network, as the Australian football family continues to assist the slowdown of the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social isolation and social distancing.
The Black Dog Institute is internationally recognised as a pioneer in the identification, prevention and treatment of mental illness, and the promotion of wellbeing. It produces online resources, tools and apps which aim to reduce the incidence of mental illness and empower everyone to live the most mentally healthy lives possible.
FFA Chief Executive James Johnson said he was excited to announce the initiative to help support the federal government in meeting the country’s mental health challenges, and assist members of the football family through the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond.
“This new partnership will see FFA using its public platforms to deliver the world-class resources produced by Black Dog for the benefit of the entire football community,” he said.
The health and wellbeing of football’s two million participants is of paramount importance to FFA. This partnership with Black Dog will allow us to provide them with the right tools, help and advice to support their mental health during these difficult times.”
“With grassroots football suspended until at least 31 May, this mental health initiative dovetails perfectly with our Skills Hub and #PlayAtHomeChallenge programs, which play an important role in keeping our participants physically fit and healthy while they stay at home.”
Director of Black Dog Institute Helen Christensen said:
We’re really excited to be partnering with Football Federation Australia to expand awareness around mental health issues. Our partnership will no doubt help build positive mental health skills and start important conversations from those who need to reach out for help.”
“We are pleased the Federation has prioritised the Black Dog Institute and wishes to support the continuation of our research and the delivery of evidence-based programs throughout the community.”
FFA Head of Medical Dr Mark Jones said the formation of the partnership comes at an important time, with football participants currently unable to get out and play.
“With social isolation and social distancing currently being practiced across the country due to the coronavirus, FFA takes its responsibility to care for the mental health of the football community very seriously,” Dr Jones said.
This partnership will provide education and excellent mental health resources for those who need them, and we encourage everyone to look after themselves and seek out the material which will be available across our FFA channels.”