Western Australian footballers aged 13 and above donned blue armbands over the weekend to promote suicide prevention and the message that ‘it’s ok to talk’, Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said today.
Mrs Morton said the One Life round, which took place on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 May, was part of the $200,000 partnership between the State Government’s suicide prevention strategy ‘One Life’ and the West Australian Football Commission.
“Every year, suicide accounts for about 32 per cent of deaths among men aged between 15 and 24,” she said.
“We know that football has a strong influence over young men and by targeting this group we can help break down the stigma around seeking help for mental health and other problems.”
The Minister said the weekend’s WAFL games included West Perth versus East Perth, Peel versus Subiaco and Claremont versus Swan Districts. Sunday’s match between East Fremantle and Perth would be televised from 11.30am on Channel 7.
“The more people we have talking about mental health and suicide, the more we can reduce the stigma and encourage people to seek help,” she said.
Mrs Morton said the weekend’s activities included the screening of a video, featuring Michael Walters, to all players, coaches and volunteers at clubs prior to games.
Up to 100 Live Life Ambassadors were also trained to recognise if someone is showing signs of mental health issues, how to properly approach them, and where to direct them for help.