Tragic loss sparks WA first

Southern Telegraph - - Front Page - David Sal­vaire If you, or any­one you know, is cur­rently deal­ing with men­tal is­sues, please con­tact Lifeline on 13 11 14, be­yond­blue on 1300 224 636 or headspace on 1800 650 890.

Af­ter a Man­durah Mus­tangs mem­ber took his own life in tragic cir­cum­stances 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 re­gional WA.

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

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

“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 dis­creet man­ner.”

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

The Mus­tangs will next month 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.”

Mus­tangs com­mit­tee mem­ber Kate Bar­ron said the club was ex­cited about the part­ner­ship and hoped to pro­mote the im­por­tance of hav­ing a healthy body and mind. She said mem­bers of the club should al­ways feel they had a safe place to come to when times were tough.

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.

Pic­ture: David Sal­vaire

Man­durah Mus­tangs com­mit­tee mem­bers Kate Bar­ron and Brant Sachse with headspace Rock­ing­ham com­mu­nity aware­ness of­fi­cer Jeremy Tucker.

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