The AFL Players’ Association has a dedicated and specialised in-house team of mental health and wellbeing experts, who are supported by our national network of leading mental health practitioners.


  • Past and present players are encouraged to utilise the AFLPA’s free and confidential advice, counselling and referrals service.
  • Our Navigation Service is delivered by in-house experts who know and understand the AFL industry. We draw on a national service network which features a diverse range of qualified, registered and experienced psychologists who are available to work one-on-one with players, away from the club environment.
  • This Network is an independent, confidential, member-focused service, provided at no direct cost* to current and past players (*fees may apply for less than 24 hours’ notice of cancellation).
  • Members can engage with this service directly or via club Player Development Managers, Agents, Club Psychologists, Doctors or any AFLPA staff member.
  • Engagement in this service can be facilitated via phone 1800 448 903 (AEST office hours) or email wellbeingservice@aflplayers.com.au
  • Please note that this is not a 24/7 emergency call service. In situations where you or someone you know is at risk of harm, we advise calling triple zero (000). Should you or someone you know require immediate out of hours crisis support, we advise calling Lifeline on 13 11 14.


  1. Mental health is identified by past and present players and AFL industry staff as the industry’s top priority. Our work is designed to meet this desire for increased knowledge, understanding and action.
  2. Mental health is dynamic – the capacity and support needs of our membership is variable. Mental health changes over time in response to different stresses and experiences, so does the support required.
  3. For many of our members, engaging in a mental health system to receive support is a daunting and complex experience. Contextualised and individualised support is required to give people the capacity to help seek.


  • We deliver member-led services. Independence and choice are our guiding principles.
  • We shape optimal environments for our members. We do so by working closely with our members, AFL clubs and industry stakeholders.
  • We employ evidenced-based practices. We design and deliver the highest quality programs and services.


  1. Mental Health Navigation Service: We deliver a free, confidential and individualised service designed to meet the specific wellbeing needs of our members. We support members, clubs and industry stakeholders by providing mental health expertise, leadership, education & partnerships to deliver optimal outcomes.
  2. AFL industry and community programs and services: We extend beyond our immediate AFL industry to engage in relevant community work which is aligned to the needs and interests of our members.
  3. Commercial outcomes: We leverage our expertise, networks and impact to provide financial outcomes for the business. These returns allow us to scale up our support services.
  • Our services are tailored to meet the needs of our past and present AFL Players, with an emphasis on building good mental health, wellbeing and life performance.
  • Our player-facing services are complemented by our range of wellbeing promotion and advocacy initiatives.
  • Our team leads community projects, public campaigns, industry-backed programs and workshops and targeted research activities.


  • Our team facilitated 2850 mental health consultations for almost 400 members in 2019 (56% increase since 2017)
  • We led the design and execution of the AFL Mental health Industry Review (completed in 2019), the largest project of its kind in world sport.
  • Our team leads the AFL industry in delivery of mental health education to members, clubs and key stakeholder groups.



  • Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which you feel able to cope with stresses of everyday life, to maintain healthy relationships, to realise your potential in your career and personal life, have a sense of purpose and hope for the future, and are able to contribute to your community.


  • Wellbeing is a central component of good mental health. It is also referred to as happiness, life satisfaction, thriving or flourishing in life. Wellbeing is about feeling satisfied and functioning well in life. Wellbeing not only contributes to our mental health and helps us to perform to our potential, but also buffers us against mental illness and stress.
  • Wellbeing is associated with a range of positive outcomes for physical health (e.g., immunity and longevity), psychological health (e.g., resilience, hope, purpose and meaning), social health (e.g., connectedness and prosocial behaviour) and career (e.g., performance, engagement, productivity, flow and creativity).


  • Experiencing mental illness is more than just a “bad day” and can cause significant difficulties in your everyday activities, whether at work, school, or in relationships. Mental illness can negatively impact your thoughts, feelings, behaviour and memory. While onset of anxiety disorders and depression commonly start in adolescence, mental illness can occur at any age. Approximately 20% of the Australian population (1 in 5 people) will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Common disorders include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, gambling, alcohol and drug addiction.


Our promotion approach includes workshops, campaigns and projects, with the focus on collectively building player wellbeing, resilience, and performance as people. Wellbeing promotion is about maximizing the potential of players during their AFL careers and beyond. Wellbeing promotion activities are informed by the latest mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural approaches and positive psychology.

We support a number of campaigns to promote wellbeing and mental health to the players’ and AFL Industry (e.g., Induction camp, AFL Players’ website and media opportunities).

Key campaigns:

  • ‘Tackle Your Feelings’ (partnership with AFL Coaches Association, Z Zurich Foundation, Zurich Australia, 2019-present)
  • ‘Courageous Conversations’ (partnership with Movember Foundation, 2018-present)
  • ‘MindMax’ (partnership with Movember Foundation, 2015-18)
  • ‘Better Out Than In’ (partnership with Beyond Blue, 2015-17)


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

Emergency Response

Should you or someone you know be at risk of harm, call triple zero (000).

Each state/region also provides a Mental Health Emergency Response Line, serviced by clinicians who provide assessment, specialist intervention and support for people experiencing a mental health emergency and if required, referral to a local mental health service. Please familiarise yourself with contact details for your area.