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‘Tackle Your Feelings’ at local footy clubsWednesday, February 26, 2020 - 1:37 PM

A focus on mental wellbeing at football clubs will see the 'Tackle Your Feelings' mental health training program rolled out across Western Australia this season.

The 'Tackle Your Feelings' (TYF) program is being delivered to community football clubs and coaches across the country, with the support of the AFL Coaches’ Association (AFLCA), AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA) and the Zurich Foundation.

The West Australian Football Commission is coordinating the delivery of the five-year program in Western Australia, which commences this week with WAFL club West Perth.

WA TYF Ambassador and Fremantle AFLW captain Kara Antonio said that sharing the 'Tackle Your Feelings' message had close personal significance.

“I lost a close mate of mine last year to suicide and he struggled with mental illness and I didn’t realise that until after he’d gone. It’s something that I’m really passionate about and I don’t want to see that happen to any of my other mates,” she said.

“I’m learning each and every day, and I’m really passionate about this space so I can’t wait to evolve my own skills and skill set to help other people around me.”

The WAFC aims to host up to 15 workshops this year in Perth and extend the program to the Pilbara (Karratha), Midwest (Geraldton), South West (Bunbury), Kimberley (Broome) and Great Southern (Albany).

The TYF program is built off the back of the eight-hour, mental health education course developed for AFL professional coaches and players by the AFLPA’s mental health team.

It consists of a face-to-face session followed by three online modules. Each participant who completes the program gains access to a suite of resources, including videos created by more than 30 professional AFL coaches.

The TYF program aims to:

  1. Raise awareness of mental health in the footy community
  2. Reduce the stigma associated with mental health (self and social)
  3. Change the behaviours associated impacting one’s mental health. (help seeking)

The TYF program has also partnered with CoachAFL, with TYF themes being included in accreditation programs through the CoachAFL platform.

This includes the “Four Quarters of Mental Health Awareness” as step one of a coach’s journey in mental health training.

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Pictured (L-R) Nick Walsh, Geoff Valentine, Kara Antonio, Scott Baker & Troy Kirkham.