Community sport and mental health

Research suggests participation in community sport offers many proactive and preventative mental health benefits including social cohesion, improved self-esteem, a decreased prevalence of depression, and the alleviation of cognitive decline in older adults.

WAAMH is the peak association for community mental health. We believe engagement in proactive and preventative opportunities for wellbeing such as community sports can help to improve mental health in our communities.

Project: Embedding mental health in community sport - SportWest & WAAMH

SportWest, Western Australia’s peak industry body for sport, partnered with WAAMH to strengthen the role of community sport in promoting positive mental health, and destigmatising mental health issues in an inclusive environment.

The project comprises two phases: the first phase led to a research-informed framework and guidelines, followed by the development of training resources in the second phase.

During phase one, WAAMH worked with SportWest to undertake extensive consultation with state sporting organisations, community clubs and mental health providers which led to an evidence-based framework and guidelines report [PDF, 400KB] for community sporting settings. The report identifies four key priority areas, nine core principles, and a self-assessment criterion and was sponsored by Healthway.

During the second stage of the project, SportWest secured funding from the WA Mental Health Commission to develop training resources, informed by the research from phase one.  WAAMH’s involvement during the second phase is an advisory capacity.

The resources and training resources are designed to empower sports leaders at State Sporting Associations with the skills to better respond to critical mental health incidents and promote proactive mental health and wellbeing in a sporting context.

Project partners

  • Healthway
  • Western Australia Mental Health Commission
  • Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries
  • Western Australia Local Government Association.