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Newcastle netballers raise awareness for mental health

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The Newcastle Netball Association (NNA) will raise awareness for mental health and wellbeing by launching a new strategy this weekend.

The organisation has been working with clubs, players, the broader community and Hunter-based national mental health institute Everymind to develop and implement an initiative aimed at improving the welfare of its members and volunteers.

The unveiling of Making Connections will also coincide with NNA’s annual Mental Health Round on 29 and 30 July.

The program’s four core actions include: connecting Newcastle’s players and volunteers to positive mental health messages and information through proactive communication; connecting coaches and officials to the information and skills they need to support players; connecting players to the supports they need, and to empower them to take action for themselves and others; and connecting the strategy to NNA and club policies to creative a safe, supportive environment for all members.

Stage one focuses on developing key messages for website and communication materials.

It’ll also consist of implementing training with coaches and players to build skills and knowledge; piloting a wellbeing officer role to support representative players; and supporting a joint association and club approach.

“Participation in sport can have benefits for physical and mental health by encouraging regular exercise and increasing social connection and opportunities,” NNA president Cheryl Hernando said.

“While we’re not a mental health service, we can play an important role in promoting wellbeing, protecting mental health and supporting people early if they experience concerns.

“To do this, the association needs to take a well-planned and proactive approach and build the skills of people across the club to play a role.

“We’re grateful for the funding provided by the NSW Ministry of Health and the partnership with Everymind to allow us to effectively support the mental health of more than 3,500 members and the broader community.”

The strategy is being led by NNA through its community engagement officer and the executive, in partnership with Everymind and other like-minded groups.

Everymind director Dr Jaelea Skehan OAM, who is also the Cardiff Netball Association president, will provide supervision and support in her dual roles as a mental health and netball leader.

SUPPORT SERVICES

All ages

  • Mental Health Line (NSW): 1800 011 511
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14, lifeline.org.au
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636, beyondblue.org.au

Young people

  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800, kidshelpline.com.au
  • headspace: 1800 650 890, headspace.org.au
  • Reach Out: reachout.com

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