Organised community sport provides opportunities to promote mental health and wellbeing, to increase mental health ‘literacy’ and prevent the onset of mental health challenges.
The potential role that community sport can play in mental health and wellbeing promotion and prevention is exemplified by the emergence of a variety of mental health programs and initiatives which have been developed to be implemented in community sporting settings.
In July 2020, SportWest embarked on a project to develop a Mental Health and Wellbeing Community Framework in partnership with Healthway, the WA Association for Mental Health, the Mental Health Commission, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and the WA Local Government Association.
Through extensive consultation with state sporting organisations, community clubs and mental health providers, the Framework has highlighted four key areas where clubs require assistance:
- Creating a club culture and environment that is inclusive of all people and promotes mental health and wellbeing of all those involved.
- Increasing mental health awareness and literacy, knowing how to respond to people, encouraging help seeking behaviour and developing links with local services and supports.
- Increase awareness of and linkages with mental health support services.
- Responding to critical mental health incidents/events, mental ill health of a member or a major crisis affecting the club.