The GIANTS and AFL support headspace day, a national day of support for the mental health and wellbeing of all young Australians, taking place today Wednesday October 21.
The day is part of National Mental Health Month with headspace encouraging young Australians aged between 12 and 25 years to take small steps to manage their mental health this year.
AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan said it is important for young people to know there are everyday things they can do to support their mental health and wellbeing.
“We are proud to support headspace day, an important initiative for many young Australians, particularly those involved in our game,” Mr McLachlan said.
“It’s been a challenging year for so many and the message for young people is that your mental health and fitness is equally vital to your wellbeing as your physical health and fitness.
“It is not only important to look after and manage how you feel but to also check in on those around you and close to you both during National Mental Health Month and regularly throughout the year.”
AFL Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing Dr Kate Hall said:
“We know physical activity and involvement in team sports are good for mental health and football clubs are an important part of our community responses to mental health in young people,” Dr Hall said.
“We want our community Clubs to educate and empower young players to manage their mental health, understand the signs of mental ill health and know where to get help for themselves and their teammates.”
GIANTS AFLW Captain Alicia Eva and Collingwood star Brodie Grundy, members of the AFL Mental Health Steering Committee, have encouraged young people to take small steps every day for their mental health.
“At a stage in life where things can get pretty busy, it is important that young people find time in their day to check in on themselves, to switch off and have a moment to refresh. Find something that works for you; go for a run, listen to music, talk to a friend. Small steps can have a big impact on your overall wellbeing,” Eva said.
“During times like these taking time to focus on the everyday things that support your wellbeing can help you cope with whatever is going on in your world and can help with forming healthy habits to manage stress or anxiety,” Grundy said.
headspace CEO Jason Trethowan said one third of young Aussies are already reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress, treble what they were in 2007, but he’s also seeing the impacts of a really challenging year affecting their sense of general wellbeing.
“Young people are telling us COVID-19 has impacted their lives significantly. They’ve missed out on many of the usual social connections and school milestones this year– and this comes on top of some of the worst natural disasters our country has faced including drought, floods and the bushfire crisis,” Mr Trethowan said. 
“We’ve seen a drop in their ability to manage their daily activities at school, home and work and that is affecting their sense of wellbeing, their relationships and how they cope.” 
“We know there’s a direct correlation between decline in functioning over a sustained period and bigger mental health challenges, so it’s crucial we help them get on top of things now”.
“That’s why we’re using headspace Day this year to encourage all young people to think about the small steps they can take – every day – to build in some strategies to support wellbeing,” says Mr Trethowan.   
About headspace:

headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds. Each year, headspace helps thousands of young people access vital support through our headspace centres in 124 communities across Australia, our online and phone counselling services, our vocational services, and our presence in schools. headspace can help young people with mental health, physical health (including sexual health) alcohol and other drug services, and work and study support. Centre details, as well as factsheets and resources for young people and their families and friends, can be located on the headspace website:
To help young people manage their mental health and wellbeing visit

For parents:

Follow headspace on social media and share your favourite tip using #headspacetips 
headspace is the AFL’s Youth Mental Health Partner and a Community Partner of the GIANTS