It comes as St. Mary’s and Geelong West will play in the second edition of the ‘Tackle Your Feelings’ match this weekend in the Geelong Football Netball League.
Stewart said the program which was established in 2018 aims to help local football and netball coaches identify mental issues in their players.
“Especially coming out of COVID and with the things that have happened there, that sense of belonging and sense of community to have these tools in order to probably have a bit more of a meaningful conversation at local football level is something that can’t be underestimated,” he said.
“One of the psychologists who actually started this program is Dave Williams, who’s our Cats psych, so to see him in a project that he’s passionate about and to be able to deliver it at local level is something I’m extremely proud of.
At a local level, the Tackle Your Feelings program is run in conjunction with Leisure Networks, and coordinator Luke Maher said the AFL Coaches Association and Players Association initiative helps grassroots coaches identify signs of their player’s poor mental health.
“We’re in a position now where we can go out as Leisure Networks staff, along with our psychiatrists and psychologists, to go out there and teach these practices to the clubs,” Mr. Maher said.
“Coaches jump into a role where they think ‘I’m just going to coach a footy team’ but you’re so much more than that,” he said.
“You’re sort of the figurehead of the footy and netball club.
“A lot of the stuff that they do, they probably don’t understand that when they get into the role.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned with this program is that it might only help one person at the club, but that’s one person who wouldn’t have gotten help otherwise.”
Tackle Your Feelings is a free mental health training program for community clubs.
Image: Tom Stewart (Sports Media Image – Marcel Berens).