Willaston’s Karen McColl is a National Community Champion


Willaston Football Club’s Karen McColl has had her outstanding commitment to the mental health cause recognised after being named Tackle Your Feelings’ National Community Champion for 2023.

In her role as Willaston’s well-being and child safety officer, Karen also won the Tackle Your Feelings’ State award for her pro-activity in promoting a safe and inclusive environment for junior and senior players, coaches and volunteers.

This year, Karen conducted a Tackle Your Feelings players’ workshop to raise awareness in regard to mental health while also providing assistance and guidance to those who require support.

”In one instance, Karen used the skills she has developed by supporting a young player who was facing a challenge,” SANFL Coach Development Coordinator Rian Nelson said.

”Karen was able to develop trust with the player, put a support network in place, and work with the family to offer the best support to the young player, something the family is very thankful for.

”As I visit numerous football clubs in my role at the SANFL, I often hear of clubs wanting to start their own well-being committee.

”Karen has been very generous in allowing me to pass on her contact details to any club looking to develop a well-being committee so she can support them.

”Karen’s generosity was on full display when she supported the Angaston Football Club to develop a well-being committee, considering Willaston and Angaston play in the same competition and have been rivals for over 100 years.”

SANFL Coach Development Coordinator Rian Nelson congratulates Karen McColl on winning the national Tackle Your Feelings Award.

As many as 73 people involved with the Willaston Football Club have been exposed to the AFL’s Tackle Your Feelings program thanks to Karen, who is passionate about promoting a healthy lifestyle for those of all ages.

”Karen is honest, dependable, incredibly hard-working and passionate in regards to her work with well-being and the Tackle Your Feelings program which she helped introduce to our football club,” Willaston FC Secretary Melissa Powell said.

”Beyond that, she is able to share her knowledge and expertise in well-being and support many areas of the football community in a positive and supportive manner.

”Karen has dedicated so much of her time to supporting players, coaches, committee members, and club members, so it is wonderful to learn she has been recognised for the work she does to support everyone.”

Tackle Your Feelings is a free training program that aims to give community football coaches the skills to understand, recognise and manage their response to the signs of mental health issues.

Coaches begin their journey with an awareness module via CoachAFL then are delivered a one-hour face-to-face workshop by a qualified psychologist before completing online modules to become accredited.

The content is based on the mental health program delivered to AFL coaches and players through the AFL Players’ Association.

Coaches and clubs can register for the program by visiting tackleyourfeelings.org.au.

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