22 June 2021

WA Club Leads the Way with Mental Health Conversations

On Wednesday 9th June 2021 7-8pm High Flyers welcomed Paul Peacock from Richmond Wellbeing come in to present their “Bouncing Back” program.

Set up by Wanneroo City Council, this free initiative was created around “Helping Teammates to Bounce Back”, as reflected in its title. Club staff Igor, Elliot and Emma had met previously with Paul and decided this would be helpful to all club members when trying to start the “difficult conversations” and managing mental health of athletes and coaches. Paul is an ex MAG athlete with a great understanding of gymnastics who we knew would relate well with the audience in attendance.

With COVID stopping the club’s elite athletes from competing as they are used to, athletes have not been given the chance to catch up with likeminded athletes from around the world, and discuss and relate with people facing the same challenges that they are day to day, which is crucial for their training and mental health.

All competitive squad athletes of 13 years and older and their parents were invited by High Flyers to come. Lovely snacks were provided courtesy of the cafe and the session remained an informal setting on the gym floor.

High Flyers had around 50 attendees and the workshop was very well received. The messages were serious but extremely well explained to all, aiming at athletes and parents to be aware of any signs of mental health issues from anxiety to thoughts of suicide. Paul gave advice on what signs to look for in yourself also.

The club’s coaches were also in attendance, as they spend a lot of time with the athletes and this workshop would be a very useful resource to better help them to understand how to best help their athletes from a more holistic approach.

This workshop sparked change in some of the athlete’s mindsets and the club was informed the next day that one of the athletes spoke to their parents as they had been having mental health issues and the steps can now be taken to give them the support that they need.

The main take home message was for everyone to talk about mental health and that you aren’t alone if you are struggling.

The club concluded the event by introducing their coach Kylie to all as she is the clubs new Accredited Mental Health First Aider having attended a course on mental health.

If anyone would like more information on the program please go to the following link: Bouncing Back - Richmond Wellbeing (rw.org.au) or contact Emma on highflyers1@bigpond.com for more information on the session held at High Flyers.