The successful Outside the Locker Room sport, school and community support program will undergo a major expansion across Western Australia, thanks to a $1.75 million funding commitment from the Liberal National Government.
The program, founded by former AFL player Jake Edwards, provides participants with strategies to build respect and combat social and mental health challenges, suicide, addiction, gambling, bullying and domestic violence.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said the Government is committed to ensuring Australians of all ages have access to the support they need to face life’s challenges.
“Sometimes it’s hard to reach out for help but during times of need, people should know someone will be available to hear their concerns and offer them help.”
“We want to ensure that those who want and need help have access to the appropriate support.”
Since coming to WA two years ago, Outside the Locker Room has extended its work to include six WA Football League clubs but the new funding will see the program expanded to 500 sporting clubs and 250 schools.
“We are proud to support what will a quantum leap in Outside the Locker Room’s work in WA,” said Member for Hasluck Ken Wyatt AM.
“This inclusive program is about providing the right help at the right time in the right place, by giving participants the life skills to tackle, share and solve problems.
“It prepares people for the challenges life can throw up, giving them resilience and delivering practical steps on the vital road to recovery.”
A dedicated Indigenous Mental Health Program will be created, with a full time Indigenous Manager appointed within the first 12 months. Mental Health First Aid Training will also be completed and certified for up to 100 participants across the state.
“The new funding will allow the extension of free clinical support to program participants,” said Mr Wyatt.
“A range of health and wellbeing experts will deliver the Outside the Locker Room program, with the added support of an innovative 24/7 mobile phone app.”
Federal Member for Swan Steve Irons MP welcomed the announcement and said the funding would support the expansion of Outside the Locker Room and help build on partnerships with local clubs such as the Perth Demons.
“Since the inaugural Outside the Locker Room Tackling Suicide Celebrity and Community Charity Match at Lathlain Park last year I have seen firsthand the incredible work the Outside the Locker Room program has delivered,” said Mr Irons.
“Outside the Locker Room offers a non-judgemental and supportive process that players students and staff across WA can access to seek support for themselves, a friend or family member.
“The program strikes the right balance of educating people on social and mental health issues whilst also providing that immediate, safe and secure welfare platform for people in a time of need.”
Since Outside the Locker Room began five years ago, up to 30,000 community sporting club participants have completed its Welfare & Education Program, and 50,000 students are estimated to have completed its Schools Program.
The Liberal National Government committed an additional $338.1 million through the 2018–19 Budget to support better mental health for all Australians.
The Government’s strong economic management ensures the continued record investment into vital health initiatives including mental health, life-saving medicines, Medicare and hospitals.