During a mid-season break in their schedule, the Jersey Flegg Sharks took the time to attend two headspace workshops in an effort to strengthen their ability to manage their Mental Health now and into the future.
With statistics revealing more than 75 per cent of mental health issues develop before the age of 25, the under-20 Sharks were the ideal target group, with the headspace sessions provide them with a few skills aimed at better understanding to how to deal with stress, Mental Health and how to improve their Wellbeing.
Many traditional services are not equipped to address the unique barriers that young people face to accessing mental health support, with headspace starting in 2006 to address this critical gap.
Funded by the Federal Government and with over 100 centres around the country, including one in Miranda, headspace provides tailored and holistic Mental Health support to 12 to 25-year olds.
At the heart of their services headspace ensure they meet the evolving and unique needs of young people and those who support them, meaning young people are at the centre of everything they do, playing an active role in designing, developing and evaluating the programs.
While constantly addressing the physical issues involved with getting the Sharks Flegg boys ready for game day on a weekly basis, the hour-long headspace workshops were about emphasising the message that maintaining Mental Health is just as important as maintaining Physical Health.
Sharks Wellbeing managers Jordan Atkins and Ben Ross facilitated the sessions alongside headspace staff, with the workshops a mixture of information and activities.
“Like our bodies, our minds need training too,” Ross said. “But unlike training your body, it’s not always obvious what you can do to train your mind. No doubt the boys enjoyed and took a lot of benefit from the headspace workshops.”
Following the workshops, 95 per cent of those who attended reported that after hearing from headspace, they would be more likely to access help for themselves or for a friend.
When quizzed 100 percent of the young players also said they now know that there is support if they or any of their mates are going through a tough time, that they now feel confident in their ability to identify stress triggers, while gaining some valuable tips on what to do when feeling stressed.
The headspace sessions were a part of ongoing efforts from the Sharks and the NRL to educate, upskill and to offer wellbeing and careers advice to all at the club, with Atkins and Ross employed in full-time roles looking after all players from NRL down to junior Academy levels.
Amanda King is also a part of the Sharks Wellbeing staff, looking after the players who go back to represent the Newtown Jets as well as the Club’s Harvey Norman Women’s and Tarsha Gale teams.
The Flegg Sharks, sitting on top of the competition table, are currently in a mid-season break and after two weeks off will be back in action on Saturday when they play the New Zealand Warriors. That match is scheduled to be played at Henson Park, kicking off at 10.45am.