Coaches form a safety net for troubled players

Netball coach Bev Gallager is receiving training to recognise and deal with mental illness in players.
Netball coach Bev Gallager is receiving training to recognise and deal with mental illness in players.

With more than 15 years’ experience as a netball coach, the Langford-based development officer has praised funding that is bringing suicide prevention to the centre court.

As part of the State Government’s suicide prevention strategy One Life WA, a new $100,000 funding agreement has been reached between the Mental Health Commission and Netball WA.

Under the agreement, Netball WA’s charity partner Youth Focus and Relationships Australia WA will deliver training workshops to more than 400 coaches.

The 1.5-hour workshops will help coaches identify early signs of mental health issues in players and will incorporate a referral process if clinical help is needed.

Ms Gallager said previously, she had not known how to handle netball players going through mental struggles.

‘It will teach me how to handle it when they are in a team situation and you come across incidences you’ve never had to deal with before, so it will give us some education in how to deal with it,’ she said.

‘Quite often the girls aren’t very forthcoming in telling you anything themselves so the education will help me realise when there is a problem and help me deal with it.

‘If they’re not comfortable in confiding in their parents, then their coaches are role models as well as friends and confidants.’

West Coast Fever head coach and One Life Ambassador Stacey Rosman said about 21 sessions would be delivered over a 12-month period to about 1250 participants.

‘The feedback from coaches who have participated so far has been overwhelmingly positive and that’s down to the high relevance of the topic to them,’ Ms Rosman said.

‘Depression is one of the most common mental health issues experience by young people aged 12 to 25.

‘One in four young people will have experienced depression by the end of adolescence.’

The funding is expected to benefit more than 18,000 girls in the Government’s target age group of 15-24 who play netball and are members of Netball WA.