Players' Mental Health Benefits from Playing Football Tue, August 8, 2023 - 8:15 AM

A recent report by Country Football WA and The University of Western Australia has found rates in depression and anxiety are increasing among football players but remain lower than non-players.

The Get Around Me report initially conducted in 2020 found 14.5 per cent of those who did not play football said their mental health was “worse than last year” compared to 1.5 per cent of football players.

As part of the report’s key recommendation, CFWA and UWA ran a follow-up ‘health-check’ survey of country players in 2021 resulting in the Get Around Me 2.0 report.

The report, finalised in July this year, found a significant increase (30%) in depression and anxiety levels among football players in 2021 compared to 2020.

Tom Bottrell, Executive Manager Country Football, said CFWA was continuing to implement strategies to raise awareness around mental health.

“The report has provided important information around our footballers, and particular regions and areas of focus,” Mr Bottrell said. 

“In response to the report recommendations, we have expanded our Country Football Community advisory panel to include expertise from the National Drug Research Institute, Holyoake and Aboriginal mental health specialists.

Professor Sean Hood, Head of Psychiatry at UWA Medical School and member of the research leadership team, said the report found some groups’ mental health benefited from playing football, including female and indigenous players.

“Going forward we are working with Country Football WA to specifically target vulnerable groups and regions with ongoing community-based mental health interventions,” Professor Hood said.

Depression and anxiety levels among female were 44 per cent higher than men, and those aged 18-to-21 years reported the highest scores in comparison to other age brackets.

The Pilbara region has the highest anxiety score in the state, 24 per cent higher than the second-highest region, the MidWest.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander anxiety scores were 32 per cent higher than non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. 

Coinciding with the release of the report is the launch of the CFWA’s WA Footy Wellbeing Hub, which aims to provide information and resources to players on how to maintain mental health and wellbeing and find support when needed. 

“We are extremely proud to have also launched the Wellbeing Hub, which is source of information to ensure individuals and communities have access to the information and better support our volunteers and our football community,” Mr Bottrell said.

The Get Around me Report can be found here


Media Contact: Nikki Brown – Communications Manager – 0438 926 086.

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