Outside the Locker Room partners with AFL NSW/ACT

AFL NSW/ACT: AFL Sydney Round 1. July 18, 2020. Trumper Park, Edgecliff, NSW, Australia. Photo: Narelle Spangher, AFL NSW/ACT

AFL NSW/ACT is proud to announce a partnership with Outside the Locker Room that will offer mental health support and education to 37 of our NSW clubs across 2020 and 2021. This partnership was made possible after AFL NSW/ACT was awarded a grant through the Office of Sport’s Mental Health Sports Fund.

Outside the Locker Room (OTLR) is a registered charity founded by ex-AFL player Jake Edwards. OTLR works alongside community sporting clubs across the country to improve mental health and wellbeing for all community AFL stakeholders.

Through this larger partnership with AFL NSW/ACT, OTLR will provide a 12 month mental health support program to the 37 participating clubs and their stakeholders from Regional NSW, including one education session at each club.

Community clubs are the heart of our game and continue to demonstrate their incredible contribution and value, well beyond the footy oval. Clubs provide vital leadership and support to their local community at the very worst of times. It is important to note that over 60% of our playing population reside in Regional NSW.

The drought, bushfires and COVID-19 have all made 2020 a hard year for our players, coaching staff, volunteers, families, and supporters. Many of us have felt more worry, stress, and anxiety. AFL NSW/ACT has established this partnership with OTLR to support regional communities and make sure we all come out the other side stronger and more resilient than before.

 

What included in the program?

A 12-month mental health support program for participating clubs, includes:

Free access to OTLR’s unique welfare app

Through the app, participants gain 24/7 access to services such as Lifeline, Lifeline Text Support and the Australian Counselling Association. OTLR will personally onboard participants onto the app via their online Wellbeing Welcome session, which is run over Zoom at the launch of the program.

Dedicated support from OTLR’s welfare team

Participating club members will be able to reach out to OTLR’s dedicated welfare team (via the app or via email) for free consultation advice and referrals.

Proactive support from OTLR’s welfare team

When downloading the app, each participant will complete a questionnaire to determine if they are at risk of mental ill-health. In these cases, the participant will be directly contacted by the welfare team to conduct a risk assessment and provide a care plan with individualised resources and recommendations. This may include referrals to external services for ongoing care if appropriate. The welfare team will also provide follow ups at no extra cost where necessary.

Mental health education session

Once it is deemed safe to do so (given COVID-19 precautions), OTLR will run a face-to-face education session at each participating club. This session will cover signs and symptoms of mental ill-health and how to support someone if they need help, including how to approach and start a conversation. These sessions run for 60 minutes and are presented by a trained program facilitator and supported by a welfare champion (a registered mental health professional).

 

You can find more about Outside the Locker Room via their website, Facebook or Instagram pages.