OHA Hockey Club – 2018 Good Sports TAS Club of the Year
A club that is able to have open and proactive discussions with their members about mental health is ultimately stronger for it. OHA Hockey Club tragically lost one of their young members to suicide in late 2016 and have since made it their mission to ensure everyone feels they have somewhere safe and supportive to turn when in need. That’s why they are the 2018 Good Sports Tasmania Club of the Year.
One of the first Tasmanian hockey clubs to adopt the Good Sports program
“Good Sports began for OHA several years ago,” says Club President David McCambridge. “We were one of the first hockey clubs in the state to adopt the Good Sports program and have since embraced it … So much so that our members, when discussing events or activities, will say, ‘Ah yes, but don’t forget we’re a Good Sports club!’
“It really is in the DNA of our club to consider the impacts we can have in the way we conduct ourselves in line with Good Sports.”
The club had received their Good Sports level 3 accreditation and implemented policies surrounding alcohol consumption, smoking and safe transport; however, when they were devastated by the loss of one of their members, they also decided to enrol in the Healthy Minds additional program.
As a result of this program, they created a Member Wellbeing Committee this year, which is chaired by two qualified psychologists who are volunteers and members of the club. They also have Member Welfare Officers, who are volunteers that act as a conduit to the committee.
Taking preventative and proactive steps towards mental health issues
“We take both an active and response-based approach to not only raising awareness about good mental health but also about preventative and proactive steps to build resilience,” David says. “We run wellbeing sessions, do regular social media promotion and hold response sessions when things go wrong.
“An example was when a young club member was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. This response involved parents, carers and players in the member’s team. Our comprehensive session style approach drew significant positive feedback from parents. And most importantly, a greater awareness for both players and parents on mental health in young people.”
David says the focus on mental health has seen a subtle shift within their club. This is despite being the largest hockey club in Tasmania. For them, there is a sense of closeness and connectedness amongst members. David believes this is a result of opening the floor of open and honest conversations.
Wellbeing is the new norm
“Our members are feeling more together than ever, from our junior coaches to senior players. They feel connected to the new norm. That is being more in tune with our mental health and it being as important as our physical state. They feel connected with each other in looking out for one another and connected to the club and its values.”
OHA Hockey Club hope to use their prize money to run more wellbeing sessions. They also shared their experience with other southern hockey clubs across the state. They hope doing so encourages more clubs take a proactive and positive approach to the mental health of their members.