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Foundation Health News

R U OK? new campaign looking out for Australia’s sporting community

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QBE Foundation backs charity partner R U OK?’s new campaign to equip community coaches with resources to help identify and support members of their sporting community who might be struggling.

The ‘Hey Sport, R U OK?’ campaign aims to promote a culture of mental health awareness in the grassroots sporting community which, according to the Australian Bureau Statistics (ABS), is made up of around 5.2 million Australians involved in both playing and organisational roles.

Co-Chair at QBE Foundation Australia Pacific, Jon Fox said that the insurer is proud to back the Hey Sport, R U OK? campaign, which is instilling a very important message into a significant number of Australians across many different communities.

QBE has a long history of involvement with sport, partnering with leading sports teams in Australia for over 30 years.

This includes our partnerships with Sydney Swans and NSW Swifts, where they extend support from elite athletes right through to Youth Academies that nurture the next generation.

“We recognise the importance of mental health awareness across all levels of the game and are delighted to back the Hey Sport, R U OK? campaign to support the broader sporting community,” Jon said. “QBE will encourage our elite sport partners to share the resources throughout their clubs and promote the campaign at a grassroots level.”

Phase one of the campaign aims to direct sports coaches across Australia towards the online resources that will help them spot the signs that someone might be struggling and guide them through what to say and do in the event one of their athletes, players or sporting colleagues is not okay.

A second phase will follow later this year focusing on supporting coaches with activating the program and embedding an authentic R U OK? Culture into their teams, players and communities.

R U OK?, CEO, Katherine Newton says sport has a crucial role in the community.

“Sport can break down barriers, reduce stigma and provide a safe and inclusive environment where everyone can thrive. But for that to happen everyone needs to play their part, none more so than coaches. All our feedback and advice points to coaches as having the most influential role in grassroots sport and the opportunity to change lives,” Katherine said.

“We are sadly, too often contacted by sporting clubs and associations who want to host games or activities to honour members of their sporting community who have died by suicide. This has highlighted the need for a proactive approach and has led us to develop the ‘Hey Sport, R U OK?’ campaign,” she said.

Katherine continues that the audience for these resources is significant as is the potential positive impact because sport talks to all age groups across economic, regional and cultural demographic markers.

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