SANFL tackles Mental Health Head On

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Sponsored by Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation

SANFL is pleased to continue its partnership with Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation as it tackles mental health HEAD ON.

The strategic union has steadily developed across the past two years, its importance underlined last year due to the implications the Covid-19 pandemic had on the 2020 season.

Life on and off the field is very different to what it was when SANFL and Breakthrough first joined forces in 2018. Football communities are continuing to rebuild with the organisations’ collaboration vital in this process.

Breakthrough Foundation Executive Director John Mannion said he was thrilled to team with SANFL again, continuing the prosperous relationship.

“One in five Australians has a mental health issue, and more people between 15-44 years are dying from suicide than any other cause – this is unacceptable,” Mr Mannion said.

“Football clubs are trusted voices in their communities and are an ideal vehicle to drive the message about mental health awareness and the need for research to help tackle mental illness head on.

“We are grateful for SANFL’s passion to join with us in supporting research into mental health which is becoming the biggest health challenge of our lifetime.”

A feature of this year’s partnership will be the extension of the Breakthrough Community Round through the SANFL Statewide Super League and Statewide Super Women’s League, to be held on August 14 and April 24 respectively.

Fundraising efforts that take place over these weekends will go towards funding mental health research as well as mental health first aid programs to support the clubs.

“Football isn’t just about playing footy; it provides many broader positive social benefits for people by improving mental health and offering support.''

SANFL CEO Darren Chandler

SANFL Chief Executive Darren Chandler said the partnership highlights the commitment the league has to the welfare of not only its players, but also its officials, volunteers, families, and fans.

“It’s important that we reflect on last year and regroup to continue to ensure we are supporting our community as a whole,” Mr Chandler said.

“The conversation around mental health has never been stronger so we’re excited to continue our great partnership with Breakthrough, not only to raise awareness about mental health issues, but also to raise money for much needed mental health research.

“Football isn’t just about playing footy; it provides many broader positive social benefits for people by improving mental health and offering support. We want to be an active participant in this space.”

SANFLW Woodville West Torrens player Zahn Anthony, who has also previously worked with Breakthrough, said the collaboration will be significant to the players.

“The work that Breakthrough does in supporting research into mental health is incredibly important,” Ms Anthony said.

“To know that SANFL is completely behind supporting a mentally fit community but also raising awareness for the fans, will drive huge change in this area.

“We are in a great position to have these conversations and be open about mental health.”