Scoring goals on mental health

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Karratha Clontarf Academy with Jake Edwards
Camera IconKarratha Clontarf Academy with Jake Edwards Credit: Picture: Alexander Scott

A road trip to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health rolled into schools in Karratha last week.

Former Carlton Football Club player and Outside the Locker Room founder Jake Edwards appeared at the Karratha Clontarf Academy located within Karratha Senior High School to talk to students about his battles with mental health and ways to deal with these challenges.

Mr Edwards said the charity uses the AFL journey as a “hook” to bring the students to talk about mental health.

“They were very engaged and attentive; at the end of the day, you can’t guarantee that every kid will take on the information, but even if it’s just one, then we’ve done our job,” he said.

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Mr Edwards started Outside the Locker Room after going through his own battle with depression and anxiety during after his football career.

“One of the biggest misconceptions is that talking suicide creates suicide, it’s the complete opposite,” he said.

“The more people like myself and athletes and anyone in the community can continue to have the courage to talk about their struggles — especially indigenous communities — the more likely they are to get help.

“We want to encourage them to avoid what we have experienced.”

Mr Edwards said it was welcoming to see the students engaged and aware of how to help people going through mental health challenges.

“It’s good to see kids now are starting to be more comfortable,” he said.

“When you open my story, my life, like I do, I guess it breaks down that barrier, the kids know I’m talking about my problems and feel they can give a bit back.”

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