Club wins with headspace partnership

David SalvaireSouthern Telegraph

After a member of the Mandurah Mustangs took his own life last year, the club reached out to headspace Rockingham for help.

Twelve months on, major plans for a new facility at the club are moving ahead, aimed at tackling mental health issues plaguing young people in the area.

The planned co-location of the Mustangs and national youth mental health foundation headspace is the first of its kind in Western Australia.

The partnership was forged in the hope of curbing the disturbing rate of youth suicides in the region.

When 16-year-old Phoenix Fa’alelea drifted away from the Mustangs nobody knew he was in serious trouble, according to club committee member Brant Sachse.

“All of his friends moved up in the club and the next thing we knew he was gone,” he said.

“That directly affected our young guys. headspace’s demographic is youths under 25, men and sporting clubs so we fit the bill perfectly.

“This is the first time in WA that a program is getting implemented into a sporting club so it will be there and accessible in a more discrete manner.”

Through the new facility, the club will offer spaces for counselling and support for their members with hopes construction will start in October.

Next month the Mustangs will host an education session for senior members to help identify and console high-risk youth.

headspace Rockingham community awareness officer Jeremy Tucker said the partnership would give young men the opportunity to talk about their problems in a familiar environment.

“The biggest killer of people under 25 is suicide and there are much higher rates among men than women,” he said.

“There are so many barriers for young people to seek help and if we can be where they are then we can hopefully build a culture within the club that it’s OK to talk about mental health issues.”

Last week a petition to establish a headspace facility in Mandurah was handed to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt after the Government announced funding for 10 new centres across Australia.

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