Tragic loss sparks WA first
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.
Mandurah Mustangs committee members Kate Barron and Brant Sachse with headspace Rockingham community awareness officer Jeremy Tucker.