WINGS Program driven by the Hawthorn players

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 1 Women's

“It’s really driven by the players” 

Hawthorn AFC’s community has been touched by the far-reaching effects of depression on more than one occasion. After the tragic passing of two former players and a former player’s father, the club were compelled to take action to both raise awareness around mental health and prevent further tragedy.

The club recognised a gap in the link between education and access to real, tangible services; with one of the greatest barriers to accessing mental health services being the cost. As a result, the Hawks set up the Wings Mental Health Fund.

Current President, Sam Waldron joined Lucy Watkin and Sophie Welsh on Inside the Boundary ahead of the clubs annual WINGS match, which will be played this Saturday at Box Hill City Oval. 

“We’re really looking forward to it, it’s a big week for the club. We have guest speakers and we’ll have a fundraising luncheon.” he said.  

The WINGS program was established in 2010 after the tragedy struck the club, former player and current vice-president Pat Clancey felt really compelled to do something about it, and raise awareness around mental health at our club and also throughout the community.

“It’s really about the awareness piece and normalising conversations, but there is also an associated fund.” Waldron said.  

“One of the greatest barriers to accessing mental health support is the cost. That’s really well utilised by our members, it’s obviously completely anonymous.” 

From what was an idea in 2010 has become a regular fixture of the Hawthorn AFC calendar, with the club starting out from the senior side to now have a fully fledged day that will see the reserves, and the Women’s all play a significant role in raising awareness and having important discussions.

In more recent times, the club has been fortunate to create a special WINGS playing jumper for the contest.

“We’ve also retained some of the gold and brown, which typically aren’t seen as being attractive colours, but the players really enjoy putting it on and most importantly they understand the meaning behind the jumper as well.” 

Hawthorn AFC will face off against Old Melburnians in Division 1 Women’s at Box Hill City Oval on Saturday, with the first bounce at 3:00 PM.