crowd including young girls in footy uniforms cheering

The AFL are proud to be a lead industry partner on Victoria University’s (VU) commonwealth-funded national study into factors that impact mental health and wellbeing of women athletes.

Researchers from Victoria University’s Institute for Health and Sport are commencing a comprehensive study to assess and track the mental health and wellbeing of Australian women athletes in semi-professional and professional sports.

“Examining gender-specific stressors is necessary to address and improve the wellbeing of women athletes. The level of interest in this area is growing but there is still insufficient information available about the specific factors that impact the health and mental wellbeing of Australian women athletes,” said Lead Investigator Professor Alex Parker.

Evaluating the mental health and wellbeing of professional and semi-professional women athletes is a critical step to inform the future development of the systems, policies and programs needed to support mental health needs and promote wellbeing.

“The AFL shares VU’s commitment to growing the evidence base about the gender-specific needs of female athletes and information collected from this landmark longitudinal study will help us identify and respond to the wellbeing needs of our AFLW players,” said Dr Kate Hall, AFL Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Over the next 12 months, women athletes from the AFL Women’s Competition and other sporting organisations will participate in a number of surveys and interviews to track their mental health and wellbeing.

Cross-sport and community norm comparisons will enable the identification of key areas of strength and concern. The information gathered will provide participating sports with valuable data to inform mental health strategies, policy improvements or service development models to improve the mental health and wellbeing of women athletes.

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