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Industry-wide employee and volunteer assistance program to support the sporting sector

SportWest, the peak industry body for sport in Western Australia today launched the True Sport Mental Health & Wellbeing initiative, supported by the Mental Health Commission, providing support and resources for the sporting community.

Increased support by the Cook government will also deliver an industry-wide pilot Employee Assistance Program for State Sporting Association employees. An exciting industry-first, Volunteer Assistance Program will also be launched, providing critical incident support to sport volunteers across WA. Expert, comprehensive and safe mental health support will be provided to the sporting community in response to critical incidents that occur in and around a sporting club.

SportWest Chief Executive Officer, Matt Fulton is proud to launch the True Sport Mental Health & Wellbeing Initiative in WA. “Currently, many sporting organisations are ill equipped or under resourced to be able support sporting communities to respond to critical incidents. When people experience a crisis, they often come to their sporting communities for support, whether the crisis or incident was sport related or not. SSA’s and sporting organisations can find themselves being required to provide mental health support and guidance to members which can often be outside their expertise.”

The True Sport Mental Health & Wellbeing initiative has been specifically designed to help sporting organisations, employees and volunteers respond appropriately to mental health concerns in a sporting context. This includes upskilling the sector around incident response, intervention, prevention and proactive promotion of mental health and wellbeing.

Swimming WA, Chief Executive Officer Sophie Row welcomed the True Sport initiative for the WA Sporting industry. “The sport sector in Western Australia is significant in scale. Overwhelmingly we hear that volunteers are overburdened, undervalued and under supported. At the same time, sporting organisations and clubs are navigating an increasingly complex regulatory framework, under increased pressure to solve societal issues, and are oversupplied with information, often with inconsistent messaging. Sport in WA comprises over 700,000 registered participants, across 5,500 clubs and relies on more than 200,000 volunteers who contribute close to 42 million hours of time each year. The opportunity to provide our people with resources to support mental health in a sporting context and access to employee and volunteer assistance programs will be so beneficial for our industry. The mental health and wellbeing of our people is so critical and this initiative is a game-changer in supporting our sector with the resources and expertise they need to navigate mental health challenges.”

The True Sport resources have been developed utilising the expertise of a clinical psychologist and mental health training expert, Kellie Lewis from The Mental Project. The initiative will empower sporting organisations to provide a setting for belonging and connection, as well as a stigma free, inclusive and supportive environment.

For more information on the True Sport Mental Health and Wellbeing Initiative visit https://www.sportwest.com.au/how-we-help/mental-health/

Media Contact: Jasmine Cappellucci, Project Officer – SportWest

Contact via email jasmine@sportwest.com.au or via mobile 0427 198 718

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