At SALT we often receive letters of thanks. Rarely are they as well written or as moving as this one:
"A few of us at Birregurra FNC had been talking for a while about bringing someone in to do a mental health and wellbeing session with our footballers and netballers, knowing that for many of us - young and old - maintaining good mental health can be an ongoing struggle.
As coach of the reserves footy team, I'm used to receiving Thursday night messages from blokes saying they won't be able to play the coming weekend, because they're going to a festival, going fishing, going camping, can't be bothered, whatever. Midway through the 2022 season I received a Thursday night text from one of our twos players that absolutely floored me.
"I'm really sorry Pete, I won't be able to play this weekend. This morning I tried to take my own life."
Sport and Life Training (SALT) gets a lot of calls from local sporting clubs when things have gone wrong.
‘We need a course on respect and equality’ explained the President of this typical suburban footy club. He went on to explain why.
‘Our women’s teams do the warm-ups with our men’s teams at training. One of our young blokes said quite loudly, ‘Why do we have to train with these ****s?’ The Pres explained that they had dealt with it strongly. ‘We suspended him for 4 weeks and during those weeks he had to run the water out to the women’s teams. We need to follow up with some in-club education,’ he explained.
Over the past few months Scott and Dave have been on the road, around the State facilitating to many clubs and impacting even more communities. Dave and Scott the absent fathers and husbands as they hit the road over the past two months visiting townships such as Tytynder, Jerilderie, Yackandandah and everywhere in between.
We think that it is important that we are clear on why we exist and why we think our work is so important. There is so much that needs to be done to impact positively on the lives of people, many of which have experienced complex and difficult times over the last few years.
It’s been a very insecure and rocky road since the beginning of 2020 and mental health issues have been a very natural fallout of the times we’ve been through.
But there are large number of Australians who believe they are coping. They are working productively (whether at home or at the workplace), looking after their families and loved ones, doing what activities are allowed dependent on the times and generally feeling like they are in control. They have energy and they aren’t depressed but they may not anticipate anything in the future like they used to do. Describe “languishing” to them and see the understanding dawn in their eyes.
The social isolation experienced by so many club members during the COVID-19 lockdowns, has bought into sharp focus the need for sporting clubs to modify how they operate and to make nurturing the mental wellbeing of their members a centrepiece of their operation