media release: headspace Swan Hill joins with AFL and Movember Ahead of the Game

headspace Swan Hill is pleased to join with the AFL as a delivery partner for Movember Ahead of the Game (AOTG) – a mental health literacy and resilience program for young people that will commence in community football clubs following this year’s headspace Round in the Golden Rivers, Central Murray  and North Central Football League. 

The AOTG program will be the largest roll out of a mental fitness program in sport globally and aims to educate young players and umpires (aged 12-18 years) and their support networks of parents, coaches, and club volunteers on the importance of mental health. Giving them tools to deal with life's challenges, and the confidence to support their mates through tough times, whilst also empowering them to look after their own mental wellbeing.

headspace Swan Hill will join 15 other community organisations from across the country to facilitate AOTG’s interactive workshops to teams of young players and umpires in community football club changerooms, before, after or during training.

The program also extends to workshops for parents, coaches and club volunteers, providing opportunities to educate whole football club communities on recognising mental health challenges, identifying when to get help, and building resilience to deal with challenges in sport and life.

AFL Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Dr Kate Hall said it was great to welcome a host of delivery partners to the program.

“The AFL is thrilled to partner with Movember and work with our delivery partners to facilitate the Ahead of the Game program to hundreds of communities this year,” Dr Hall said.

“We know that grassroots football clubs around Australia provide a place for connection and belonging for young people. The AFL and Movember believe footy is a way for young Australians to learn crucial mental skills that build resilience in football and life. These skills include appreciating your team and helping out a mate”.

“We want to harness the power of our great game to help players, coaches, parents and volunteers to understand mental health, build mental fitness and strengthen resilience across the country so that we can build communities that are mentally fit and capable to handle any challenge that comes their way.”

With most common mental health conditions occurring in adolescence to mid-20s, Movember APAC Country Director, Rachel Carr said giving young people the tools to better understand mental health and mental fitness has never been more important. 

“We know that 75% of all mental health conditions onset before the age of 25 years old, making these critical early intervention years. If we can connect with young people before this point and help improve their mental health literacy and resilience, we could slow the onset and burden of mental ill health for future generations,” Carr said.

“This year’s headspace Round is our biggest yet, spreading across three Leagues and engaging 24 clubs within our region” headspace Swan Hill’s Community Engagement Officer Kat Hindle said. “Teammates matter is the message we have been sharing for headspace Round” Ms Hindle said. “The AOTG program aligns perfectly with this message and provides vital tools for players to be able to support each other and continue important conversations off the field”.

The AOTG program will be delivered to in stages to community football clubs across all states and territories throughout the three-year partnership, with the program to begin in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and Tasmania in the first year.

Community football clubs can registration their expression of interest for the first year of the AOTG program via




For more information or to arrange media interviews, please contact:

Kathryn Hindle
Community Engagement Officer

0472 537 458 or