A junior netball coordinator says sports clubs have a responsibility to take a proactive approach to mental health of all members.
Ballarat Junior Football Netball Club's Cindy Sullivan said clubs can be a great place to establish trust and for teammates to check in on each other.
Storm under-15 and under-17 netballers have taken part in a specialist training session to talk about depression, anxiety, suicide and well-being from a personal and sport perspective.
Ms Sullivan said the session, run by sports-based educator SALT, tackled some difficult content but it was a safe environment for players to open-up and understand each other better.
"Our club wants to make a big impact in relation to mental health. It's an issue that affects a lot of our families, but the boys and girls," Ms Sullivan said.
"I think it's so important, with so many issues surrounding young girls these days, to have the tools to help - not just on the court, but off the court, too."
Ms Sullivan said the girls were made aware that while young men had a higher rate of completed suicides, young females have a higher rate of attempted suicide and self-harm.
She said a netball team naturally offered a special bond and such a session really emphasised how girls still need to check on each other - even if just to show concern for missing a training session.
Mental health, cyber-bullying prevention and drug and alcohol awareness were the key issues junior netballers and footballers in the Alfredton-based club flagged for wanting more club education about.
Storm sourced the SALT program through Netball Victoria and has plans to run a Outside the Locker Room workshop on cyber-bullying and social media next month for under-17 and under-19 netballers and footballers.
The next session will also involve families with the club keen to create a space to open dialogue for parents and teenagers.
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