ROUND 19 – ALBURY UNITED SC v MELROSE FC – August 6th 2017
After the huge success of the Mental Health Round 2016, we continue in 2017…
Melrose FC and Albury United helped raise awareness for mental health and detach the stigma surrounding it. The Black Dog Institute, headspace Albury Wodonga and Sports North East were all present on the day with marquees and information packs, which were frequently visited by many people. This was a great place to start a conversation. By implementing activities tables (face-painting, stress ball making, colouring in and bracelet making) and Best on Ground awards for the players with the most effort and sportsmanship in the Junior grades, the kids (and those who are still kids at heart) were heavily involved in the day. Posters were designed where the players of every grade could sign it, in recognition of the importance of valuing one’s mental health. The Senior Women and Senior Men wore specially designed shirts, with a minute’s silence before each game to think about those who have lost the battle to depression, and those currently facing that same struggle.
On the fundraising side of things, there were money tins and raffles throughout the day. Each club went back to their respective drinking holes and auctioned off the shirts, as well as holding another raffle. All in all, close to $9000 was raised, with headspace and Black Dog splitting the funds 50/50.
It is important to keep this conversation going. The goal in 2017 is to make this event an annual one – to keep fighting the stigma attached to mental health and to keep starting conversations. The fact that AWFA has decided to involve all clubs is a huge step in our local community. It has set the foundation for other leagues to join in, such as the O&M and rugby. (Albury Thunder organised a Mental Health Day last year, it was a big success as well. I am unsure if they are holding another one). It is important to keep it going.
As much as fundraising is important, the main objective is to help raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing in our community, fight the stigma attached to mental health and start a conversation. Mental health and wellbeing plays a huge role not only in everyday life, but as well as a sporting environment. It is important to start the conversation.
Liam McKay from Headspace and Melrose FC decided to call this ‘The Let’s Talk’ Round…