Through co-funding from the Minderoo Foundation, Movember has completed a program on Kangaroo Island to promote mental wellbeing and prevent suicide among young Australians affected by natural disasters through Movember’s Ahead of the Game program with delivery partner ALIVE.
As part of this community sports-based initiative Movember’s Ahead of the Game (AOTG) program provides mental health literacy and resilience training for adolescents aged between 12 and 18 years. This evidence-based mental fitness and resilience program teaches young players, parents and coaches how to spot the signs of poor mental health, how to talk about mental health problems and how and when to seek help. The AOTG face to face training is then supported by a 6 module online resilience program which enables young players to develop long term skills for dealing with life’s challenges.
A unique part of this pilot initiative is to also provide young players with additional long-term support via youth suicide prevention organisation ALIVE’s Get Real Institute Life Hacks. This learning series allows young people to take control of their own mental health education, a crucial element required for communities to build disaster resilience. The Life Hacks course is supported by local community leaders who have been through ALIVE’s ‘Train the Trainer’ course, allowing them to support the adolescents on their mental health journey. The program delivery reached 288 adolescents, parents and coaches across 4 local sporting clubs on the island as well as upskilling 4 local facilitators to be AOTG trainers which allows a long-term impact to remain on the island.
Kangaroo Island was identified as a key area to provide mental health support to equip young adults with the knowledge and skills to cope and thrive in the longer term, by Minderoo’s ground operations team who provided temporary accommodation to people who lost their homes following the Black Summer bushfires. One of the hardest hit areas from the Black Summer bushfire crisis, 50 per cent (211,000 hectares) of the island burned and the delayed effect of the disasters has been devastating on the mental health of the island’s inhabitants.
Crisis support can be found at Lifeline: 13 11 14 | lifeline.org.au, or Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 | kidshelpline.com.au