Closing keynote presentation – The AFL’s 2020 Mental Health Mission: supporting the health and wellbeing of our people to protect the future of our game.

Dr Kate Hall, Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing, AFL

Like many sporting Industries, the 2020 AFL season was significantly disrupted by the impacts of COVID19. Recommencing the season in 2020 required comprehensive COVIDSafe protocols that protected players, officials and the wider community, but that also impacted how and where our People lived. Resuming the AFL 2020 season, after an Industry wide shutdown, required relocating our competition to Qld, where the disruptions were wide ranging for individuals and families.

Balancing the needs of our People in order to deliver the season, while also remaining in step with State Governments, managing media scrutiny of our Industry’s COVID practices and continuing to support the significant numbers of our workforce who remained in Victoria’s Stage 4 restrictions on stand-down, required comprehensive, person centred mental health and wellbeing responses. These responses were informed by our Industry Mental Health Strategy’s guiding principles.

Key takeaways will cover the AFL Mental Health Team’s Guiding Principles and Actions

  • Our actions during our COVID adjusted season to support cultural and systemic change that is mental health aware and capable;
  • How we equipped our people with mental fitness skills to face the uncertainty and challenges of COVID;
  • How we ensured our people’s emergent mental health needs were met.