HomeSport‘It really rocked us’: The local club tackling mental health

‘It really rocked us’: The local club tackling mental health

Summary

Two years on Goodwood Saints has been recognised with the National Mental Health Award. President Craig Scott said the Saints were rocked by the deaths of three past players, including former Richmond player Shane Tuck, in 2020 and decided it was time to do their bit for the cause. “It really rocked us. You become passionate about something when you have a connection with it and we’re really passionate about player welfare and the welfare of anyone in our community,” Scott said. “People from ages 15 to 24 are the most at risk of suicide and we’ve obviously got a lot of that group at the club. “We want to be able to help take barriers away from people getting help and we want them to share their feelings and be more open.”The club received the award, courtesy of the 2022 Good Sports Awards, for its success with multiple mental health initiatives.It has introduced mental health education to its teams, with Headspace speaking to Under 16s and other teenage sides throughout the year. There is also a player welfare group at the Saints, with Carol Foster managing the program and former player Danny Wakelin working as the mental health officer. Additionally, Goodwood has been running an ‘early assistance program’ for players who identify as having mental health issues, where five initial visits with a specialist are paid for by the club. “It’s all for current players and past players as well,” Scott said. “It gives them the confidence that the club cares about their welfare. “Clubs are there to offer a sense of belonging and purpose and you can sometimes steer clear of that especially as a past player. Everyone is welcome here, it’s like a little family.” Scott said the club would continue working to promote the issue within local sport in SA well into the future but added that it would be hard for some clubs to run programs. “Being recognised makes us very proud and it’s something we’re continuing to work very hard on,” Scott said. “Some clubs, it depends on size, because you need volunteers experienced on the topic to be able to help and it’s especially challenging during this period where volunteers also need to help run clubs around Covid protocols and so on. “Every club cares for their players but it’s about finding the right person or volunteer to help, and we’ve been lucky enough to have some incredible people get on board.”Goodwood was not the only SA club to come away with an award, with the East Torrens Baseball Club also winning SA Club of the Year.For more information on Goodwood’s initiatives, visit goodwoodsaints.com.au/making-a-difference.

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