St Kilda Football Club, alongside the Langwarrin Positive Education Network, Frankston City Council, Peninsula Health and Primary Care Partnership, is proud to announce the launch of a new mental health initiative, THRIVE.

THRIVE has been successfully trialled in education to support wellbeing and academic achievement and is now being expanded into community sport and recreation across the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region.

St Kilda General Manager of Marketing and Community Engagement Calzak Bowen said that the program, funded by South East Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN) and the Victorian State Government under the Suicide Prevention Place-based Trials, will be instrumental in providing people the ability to manage their mental health in a positive way.

“Through our AFL and AFLW programs, we’ve seen how strong the benefits of positive psychology and engrained proactive mental health training can be,” Mr Bowen said.

“To be bringing a program like THRIVE to community sport and recreation is fantastic, as we believe it will give young people the skills they need to live happy, healthy lives”.

“As a club, we’ve really made strides in the mental health space over recent years, with the construction of the Danny Frawley Centre for Health and Wellbeing being the ultimate physical representation of our commitment.

- Calzak Bowen

“However, knowing that this program will establish positive changes for a generation of young people is really powerful and we would love to see this expanded into more clubs  and groups at a grass roots level”.

While upskilling participants is a major part of the program, empowering coaching staff and administrators to feel skilled in the mental health space is also a key component of the program.

Senior Coach Brett Ratten presents at THRIVE Launch

SEMPHN’s Executive General Manager Strategic Relations Brian O’Sullivan said the THRIVE program is a vital step towards protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of our community.

“According to our data, Frankston and Mornington Peninsula experience high rates of mental health and death by suicide, with males aged 20-24 identified as a high-risk group,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Sport and recreation clubs provide an ideal setting for intervention due to the cultural importance of their clubs, however, often lack the skills, knowledge and/or capacity to adequately support an individual.

“The THRIVE program targets primary prevention to build robust levels of wellbeing and resilience through to secondary intervention with resources to support mental illness and suicidality.

“We are pleased to be partnering with St Kilda Football Club to deliver a localised approach to support the health and wellbeing of our Frankston and Mornington Peninsula community.”

The pilot phase of the program will encompass 12 sports and recreation clubs, including approximately 8500 club members.