The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) is investing in a Clinical Psychologist to support its GamePlan Program.
The investment comes towards the end of a summer where the wellbeing of Australia’s cricketers became a prominent issue following a number of players withdrawing from national and state duties to take care of their mental health.
The purpose of the Clinical Psychologist role is to continue to develop and adapt the wellbeing and mental health education as part of GamePlan – a program funded from $13.4 million set aside as part of the 2017 MOU which provides Australian cricketers with wellbeing education and support, more financial education and an increased focus on career development and transition.
The ACA currently funds a Player Development Manager to each male and female program along with access to external psychology network should a player prefer to see their own psychologist.
In November, newly appointed ACA President, Shane Watson, declared players’ mental health his number one focus.
“It’s not just in cricket… it’s wider society: Mental health is coming to the fore, as it should,” said Watson.
“Beforehand it was just shut behind closed doors, whereas now people are actually talking about it which is a great thing and it needs to happen.
“But the support needs to be there, to be able to limit the chances of one of our best players needing to have time away to be able to get back to where he or she needs to from a mental health point of view.”
The role will also support the ACA in their collaboration with Cricket Australia on the development of an Australian Cricket Wellbeing Strategy – something that will be partly informed by themes emerging from the recent Orygen research into players’ mental health and wellbeing.