SANFL Supports Inaugural Breakthrough Round

More than 80 SANFL Community Football clubs across the State will throw their support behind tackling mental health through the inaugural Breakthrough Round.

To be held this weekend, the Breakthrough Round is designed to raise funds and awareness for the Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation.

With one in five Australians having a mental health issue, and more people between 15-44 years are dying from suicide than any other cause, SANFL Chief Executive Jake Parkinson said these statistics underlined the importance of the Breakthrough Round.

“Football isn’t just about playing footy, it provides much broader positive social benefits for people by improving mental health and offering support,” Parkinson said.

“We know that footy clubs are really positive spaces for delivering that social support, so we see significant benefits in aligning to the Breakthrough Foundation to help create a community free from mental illness.”


SANFL helps Breakthrough Foundation celebrate its first birthday earlier this year.

L-R: Neal Matotek SANFL GM Commercial / John Mannion Breakthrough Executive Director / Brett Gillett SANFL Partnerships Manager / Jane Altschwager -Breakthrough Communications & Marketing Manager

Together with conducting fundraising activities, participating clubs will also have all of their players wear purple and blue armbands during this weekend’s match.

Breakthrough Executive Director John Mannion applauded the participating clubs for their commitment to supporting the Foundation’s mission to create a life free from mental illness.

“Mental illness is becoming the biggest health challenge of our lifetime and we need new research and new approaches to beat it,” Mannion said.

“Football clubs are trusted voices in their communities and we’re grateful for the clubs’ passion to join with us in supporting research into mental health which will get us closer to answering many of the unknowns.”

As part of Breakthrough’s partnership with the SANFL, funds raised by clubs participating in Breakthrough Round will directly fund Mental Health First Aid Programs across leagues and clubs, as well as targeted research to measure the impact of this work in football communities.

The SA-based Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation is Australia’s only dedicated mental health research foundation.

Five Key Tips for Emotional Health

  1. Take care of you

Eat, sleep and be active. We don’t often think about how important these basic activities are for our mental health – but they are critical.

  1. Check in and get check-ups

We get check-ups for our physical health. We even take our cars in for tune-ups. It’s time to take responsibility and get check-ups for our emotional well-being too. Talk with your doctor, a counsellor, and your family and friends to make sure you – and those you love – are doing well emotionally.

  1. Engage and connect wisely

Pay attention to your relationships. We can’t be healthy if our relationships are not.

  1. Relax

Learn ways to reduce the stress that we all face – and practice what works for you.

  1. Know the Five Signs of Emotional Distress

The Five Signs are: change in personality, agitation, withdrawal, decline in personal care, and hopelessness. Someone may exhibit one or more signs. If you see them in someone you love, reach out, connect, and offer to help.

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