Building real trust and engagement takes time and effort – something that headspace Albany and the Great Southern Storm AFL Development Program have been working on together for the past four years.
headspace Albany Clinical Lead, Carl Heslop, regularly attends Monday training to connect with the participants about football and fitness, and discuss how mental health has a link to how they are performing in all of these areas.
“For players to develop into strong footballers they need to know the foundations, work hard on their skills and fitness, practise regularly, and be well supported. There is recognition that the development of mental health skills is an important part of this skill set. It’s great to see local footy clubs start to follow on from what has been happening in elite AFL clubs for a while now.”
Changing the language and attitudes around getting support when you need it and recognising that looking after your mental health is just as important as working on your kicking is a core aim of headspace Albany’s engagement with the program.
“Our involvement in this program is about helping players get to where they want to be inside and outside of football – and part of that is knowing that support is there if they need it and that there is strength in seeking help,” says Carl.
The Great Southern Storm program is the local elite training program for young players hoping to take their football beyond Albany.
Great Southern Storm founder Darrell Panizza is a huge supporter of the program. “The Great Southern Storm are very fortunate to have headspace Albany attending training regularly as there are a number of issues that our group face that are not just attached to the anxiety of football. headspace Albany gives the players a chance to get support really quickly.
“We really appreciate having headspace Albany as part of our team.”