he AFL has announced it has become a lead industry partner on Victoria University’s (VU) Federal Government funded study into the mental health and wellbeing of women athletes.
As part of the partnership, over the next 12 months, AFLW and other sporting organisation athletes will participate in surveys and interviews tracking their mental health and wellbeing comparatively to cross-sport and community norms.
The study hopes to improve the future development of systems, policies and programs to support the mental health needs of professional and semi-professional women athletes and promote wellbeing.
Launching the study are researchers from VU’s Institute for Health and Sport, who will provide participating sports organisation with data to inform mental health strategies, policy improvements, or service development models.
Lead investigator, professor, Alex Parker, said: “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,” Parker said.
AFL head of mental health and wellbeing, Dr Kate Hall, also said the league is committed to improving the response to wellbeing needs of AFLW athletes.
“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,” Dr Hall said.