Thousands of teenagers around Geelong are being exposed to positive messages about mental health thanks to the Read the Play organisation.
This youth heath awareness organisation visits local sporting clubs to deliver these important programs to girls and boys in the under-15 age group, assisted by a Sport grant from Geelong Connected Communities.
Michael Parker, General Manager at Read the Play, joined GCC Director John Fitzgerald and the Bay FM team to speak about the impact on the community in a recent edition of THE CATCH UP.
“We use local psychologists, drug and alcohol workers and youth workers to go into clubs and deliver a program around how to reduce the stigma of mental illness, where to go for help if people need it, signs and symptoms of mental health and how to speak to your friends if you think they are struggling or if you are struggling yourself,” Parker said told Bay FM.
“Youth suicide is a massive issue we are facing at the moment, so hopefully by breaking down that stigma of mental health through our sessions we can reduce the stats around that,” he said.
“It’s all games-based, interactive sessions. It’s not your traditional classroom-type session. The young people compete against each other in a whole range of fun games around mental health.”
The grant from GCC will help Read The Play stage a special round of football and Netball in the local Geelong leagues.
Read The Play have received grants from GCC for several different initiatives in the past, and Parker thanked GCC for their ‘brilliant’ support.
“To follow up the sessions, we hold a ‘Read The Play Round’, where we play with a ‘Read The Play’ football and netball. This really helps to reinforce the messages we deliver to the under-15 age group, but it also helps spread the message throughout the whole club as well.”
The Read The Play organisation is based in Gheringhap Street, Geelong – the offices of their major supporter KEMPE Engineering. Their annual fundraiser at GMHBA Stadium is coming up on Tuesday, July 23rd.
If you are interested in supporting this wonderful organisation, please visit or find them on social media.