The Hawthorn Amateur Football Club community has been touched by the far-reaching effects of depression on more than one occasion. After the tragic passing of two former players and a former player’s father, the club was compelled to take action to both raise awareness around mental health and prevent further tragedy. The club recognised a gap in the link between education and access to real, tangible services; with one of the greatest barriers to accessing mental health services being the cost. As a result, in 2010, the Wings Program was established. Over the years, the Wings Program has evolved into a mental health awareness and support program.
Central to the Wings Program is the Wings Mental Health Fund. The fund can be accessed anonymously by any member of the club’s extended community to financially support mental health services. Details of how to access the Wings program are outlined below.
Each year HAFC hosts a number of events designed to promote mental health awareness, education and support, and raise funds for the Wings Mental Health Fund.
The annual Wings Round is the flagship event in the Wings program. All teams don specially designed Wings jumpers with the aim of promoting Wings and more broadly, mental health awareness. The Wings lunch, hosted during the Wings round, sees sponsors and members of HAFC, as well as the wider community, come together to recognise the importance of mental wellbeing and raise funds to support the longevity of the Wings program. It has previously been attended and hosted by AFL identities, politicians, and prominent medical professionals.
At the end of the season, the Wings Trophy is awarded to the person who best looks after their mates both on and off the field. The trophy is named to honour Jacob Pitcher, Peter Lynch and David Holland.
Wings Ambassadors are HAFC members who are trained and certified in Mental Health First Aid. They promote mental health awareness and advocate for better mental health outcomes for individuals and communities. Additionally, Wings ambassadors play a crucial role in supporting the HAFC community. They are points of contact to provide support to individuals who are struggling with mental health issues, such as by connecting them with mental health resources and services and assisting those in need to access the Wings Mental Health Fund.
ACCESSING THE WINGS MENTAL HEALTH FUND
The Wings Mental Health Fund is available to assist anyone in the club’s community to access mental health services. The fund will contribute to covering some of the costs for psychologist, psychiatrist and counselling services. For more information, please speak to a Wings Ambassador. All conversations with Wings Ambassadors are confidential.
Dealing with Loneliness
Frontline worker and HAFC player, Hannah Nicholls, shares her story of hotel isolation as a close contact of a confirmed case, and the impact it had on her mental health.
Read her story here.
REBATED MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
The Better Access Scheme provides a Medicare Rebate for people to see a psychologist or psychiatrist. In order to take advantage of the scheme, the person seeking treatment needs to first see their GP to develop a Mental Health Treatment Plan, which is a document the GP and patient work on together. It includes an assessment of mood, specific life difficulties, and goals that may be achievable within a set period of time. Up to 10 individual sessions per year can be subsidised by the Medicare Scheme.
If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
The club has partnered with Upwell Health Collective, Camberwell, as our official Physiotherapy partner. Upwell is run by qualified Sports Physiotherapists and one of their physios will be at training on Tuesday nights to assess injuries.
All injured players are required to be at training on Tuesday nights to be assessed by the physio and given a rehab program. If it is necessary, you may be directed to make an appointment with the physio to further treat your injury. Upwell will provide all Hawks members a $110 voucher to use across all Upwell services
Basic player insurance is provided through Marsh when players register. The Personal Injury cover starts at a standard level called Bronze.
Benefits on non-Medicare Medical costs includes:
- 50% Reimbursement
- $2,000 max. per claim
- $100 excess per claim
It is important to note that the benefits stop as soon as you start playing again. Click here for more information and links to make a claim.
HAFC highly recommend every player has some level of private health insurance. Footballers are prone to injury and seeking the right treatment is paramount to returning to the field.
HAFC strongly encourages all players to get Ambulance Cover. Ambulance Victoria Cover is affordable and costs less than $50 a year for singles. The average cost of an emergency transport is more than $1100. Private Health Insurance may not cover you. Many Private Health Funds have significant limitations, exclusions or caps to ambulance cover. Visit their website to join.