Sports clubs across the Moreton Bay Region and North Brisbane are signing-up for Mateship Matters, a new free suicide awareness program.
To date 12 sports organisations, nine from the Moreton Bay Region, have rolled out training or are about to start the program.
In July, Deception Bay Boxing Club became the first in Queensland to have Mateship Matters’ General Awareness Training (GAT). The club had its second session this week.
Spiders Boxing Club based at Caboolture PCYC is also supporting Mateship Matters.
On Monday two of this region’s biggest football clubs Albany Creek Excelsior (ACE) and Moreton Bay United will have their first Mateship Matters presentations.
The dozen signatories include five boxing gyms and mixed martial arts centres; four football clubs (rugby, AFL, soccer); two cricket clubs and one indoor sports centre.
“So far, sporting clubs and the sporting sector in general have been very receptive and positive to the Mateship Matters program,” says Caine Ansell, the MATES QLD field officer and project manager driving program rollout.
“The clubs can see the value of the program and when implemented, clubs become suicide-safer communities to be a part of.”
Caine says participants learn how to identify what suicidal distress looks like and how to offer help. “These are skills you can take everywhere,” he says.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for young Australians aged 15 to 45.
After launching in 2019, this year’s plans were hit by COVID, but since restrictions eased in July interest has started to grow.
Mateship Matters encourages members to attend GAT training, understand the problem of suicide and learn about the solution they can be part of, which is “it’s okay to talk”.
Connectors are trained to link at-risk members with professional help and ASIST volunteers are then trained to talk to those in crisis and create a help plan.
Field officers from Mateship Matters stay in contact with sports clubs and volunteers offering support and further training.
“Everyone has been affected by COVID and so many people by suicide,” says Damian Smith, trainer at Deception Bay Boxing Club.
“We felt the more we could do to help those at the club and in the community, the better it might be.”
ACE President Tony Dooley fully supports the program saying it was particularly relevant now with the challenges everyone faces during the COVID pandemic.
Ben Parkin, Chairman of Moreton Bay United, believes Mateship Matters will help raise awareness of all aspects of mental health and well-being.
The sessions are open for those aged 15 and over.
For further information visit mateshipmatters.org.au
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