Mental health is on the radar for AFL footballers now more than ever before.
With players admitting their issues in recent months, the players are leading the charge to change the stigma associated with mental illness, with the Hawthorn playing group donating the entirety of their Players Care funds to beyondblue.
AFL Players’ Association delegate and Hawthorn swingman, Taylor Duryea, who’s had family members and friends affected by mental illness, said the donation will go a long way to helping raise awareness of mental health issues.
“Anxiety and depression can affect anyone, so we hope this donation aids beyondblue in their efforts to provide information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health,” Duryea said.
“Each year the stigma starts to be broken down about having a chat about your mental state and I think sport in general helps create a message and get a conversation going.”
AFL Players Care is the players’ official charity initiative and was established in 2014 when the male playing group voted to increase their match fee charity contributions from $25 to $50 per player, per game.
While $25 per game per player is still donated to the AFL Players’ official charity partner, Ladder, to help tackle youth homelessness, an additional $25 per game per player is now contributed to the AFL Players Care fund.
$180,000 of this fund is then equally distributed among all 18 male AFL clubs each season giving each team the opportunity to support one or two charities of they are passionate about.
Hawthorn’s $10,000 donation to beyondblue comes at a time where one of their premiership heroes recently admitted to going through anxiety troubles throughout his career.
“Men, in particular, have a bit of trouble with it but it’s something that’s getting better and more men are starting to speak out and seek help,” Duryea added.
“It was great that Josh Gibson was able to speak about it and I think most players at some stage of their careers have a few issues, especially with the amount of stresses with form, injury and external pressures, it’s definitely something that can be treated like any normal injury.”
Need Support? If you know someone who requires urgent assistance or support, please contact:
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Mens Line Australia: 1300 78 99 78
Support for AFL Players: If you are a current or past AFL Player and would like to know more about our specialised wellbeing and mental health services please contact the AFL Players’ at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel. 03-8651 4300 (Mon to Fri, 9am – 5pm).