LISTEN: How AFLW prompted a rethink on mental health policies

THE NEWNESS of the NAB AFLW competition has meant mental health support has been set up without restrictions from past traditions, Dr Kate Hall has said.

Dr Hall – the AFL's head of mental health and wellbeing – was speaking on the second episode of the League Leaders podcast with the AFL's head of women's football Nicole Livingstone.

"We were aware that W itself as a competition poses different risks for our female athletes, that's because of so many things you know so well around their part-time status and just the pressure that comes from that truncated season," Dr Hall said.

"What we set out to do from a mental health perspective is the newness of W allowed us to put in place things we think are best practice from the get go. The openness of the W club meant we could do that.

"They would represent a degree of best practice for female athletes and we were really clear we didn't want to repurpose a set of roles, purpose or strategies that we used in the men's competition and extend them over, it was a chance to start afresh."

Episode guide

3.59 – How Covid-19 has created more conversations around mental health and opportunity for change.  

4.40 – Growing up in an army family.

10.32 – How Dr Hall became a psychologist and her research into the impacts of drug taking on mental health.

14.55 – How Dr Hall ended up working for the AFL.

30.40 – The difference in approach to men’s and women’s mental health programs and how the women’s mental health programs will help form the basis for the men’s programs in the future. 

40.15 – The challenges faced in the Queensland quarantine hubs.