Mental health awareness in spotlight

During the 1Life round, players, umpires and officials across the East Perth Football Club district zone, including league, reserves, colts, juniors, |masters and women’s teams will wear distinctive orange armbands.
During the 1Life round, players, umpires and officials across the East Perth Football Club district zone, including league, reserves, colts, juniors, |masters and women’s teams will wear distinctive orange armbands.

Others playing in the East Perth District Football Development Council and the East Perth colts, reserves and league teams will also wear the armbands.

But for the Coolbinia players, the initiative has a personal connection, as last year, one of their young leaders committed suicide.

President Luke McNiece said the teenager’s death affected the club deeply and prompted it to develop an initiative to promote mental health and suicide awareness.

‘Mental health and suicide is a community issue and everyone, regardless of their walk of life, may face it,’ he said.

‘It is even seen in the AFL, people like Harry O’Brien, who has spoken about tough issues in recent days.

‘Football clubs have significant opportunities to affect kids.’

Mr McNiece said the initial idea started at club level, but was quickly embraced by the East Perth football community, expanding it to the Royal 1Life Round.

‘I’m not really surprised at the interest in the initiative; there is growing awareness of suicide and it is one of the leading killers of young men,’ he said.

‘It’s not something that men have traditionally been encouraged to talk about. The round aims to let people know it is OK to talk to a coach, parents, teammates or a counsellor if something is wrong.

‘It is about raising awareness and trying to get people who aren’t feeling OK to talk.’

If you need help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, www.lifelinewa.org.au or Suicide Call Back Line 1300 659 467, www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au