By: Troy Swainston – Chief Executive Officer – Eastern Football League
This week marks the seventh year we’ve recognised Beyond Blue Round in the EFL, with the issue of mental health being one we know has touched many of our clubs.
Males make up a large part of the EFL family and statistics show one in eight men will experience depression at some stage in their lives. Young men are often unlikely to acknowledge they have an issue and seek help. Our relationship with Beyond Blue started from a discussion between our former CEO and a club president about a player he knew was really struggling with mental health issues and contemplating suicide, which fortunately didn’t occur. Identifying education opportunities, but importantly promoting the resources and support networks available was beneficial in helping that young man through a tough time.
At previous Beyond Blue game functions, we have heard Beyond Blue ambassadors talk about their, or close family members experiences suffering depression and anxiety, the impact it has on family and friends, and the benefits a correct diagnosis and treatment can bring. We feel it’s imperative that organisations like the EFL use our reach to promote, educate and support a range of issues likely to affect those involved in our game.
Across the League, many clubs have been touched by tragedy. A sudden death, long term illness, road trauma, the tragic effects of mental health, the list of clubs who have had to manage through these challenges is long.
This week, the EFL Insight podcast spoke with Associate Professor, Dr. Grant Blashki. He is currently the Lead Clinical Adviser for Beyond Blue and has been active in mental health for 25 years including clinical care, GP education, policy reform, international training in China and Indonesia. He has published numerous clinical and research articles and a range of books in the field. EFL Insight will be available to listen to or download on EFL.org.au from Thursday this week.
If pulling on the blue socks this week or seeing the Beyond Blue information on our website, social media or in the Eastern Insider helps encourage one person going through a tough time to talk to someone or seek some support, then it’s all worth it.
Our other themed rounds for season 2019 are Sockit2MND Round, June 15-16, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s Love the Game Round on June 29-30, road safety – TAC Towards Zero Round, August 3-4, along with our continuing associations with the Good Sports program (managing alcohol in clubs), Sports Chaplaincy Australia (pastoral care) and Eastern Health (gender equality).
Footy clubs are great at supporting people in a time of need and we thank the broader EFL community for doing so.
Have a great weekend at the football.