Addressing Alcohol and Mental Health Issues through Sport Mon 7 May 2012 Michelle O'Byrne Minister for Sport and Recreation The Minister for Sport and Recreation, Michelle O'Byrne, today congratulated sporting clubs throughout the State who are being proactive in creating safer and more family-friendly environments. With more than 200 clubs around the State now taking part in the Good Sports Program, Ms O'Byrne said this demonstrates a commitment by the sporting community to better manage alcohol use and ensure that sport and family come first. As part of the program, clubs work through three levels of accreditation and must provide a smoke free environment, develop safe transport strategies and look at alcohol alternative fundraisers. She was speaking at the Old Launcestonians Football Club, which is a Level 1 participant in the Program. "The Program, which is conducted by the Australian Drug Foundation, helps develop better club environments through a set of alcohol management standards which create benefits such as reducing risky and aggressive behaviours, cutting drink-driving, and developing ways to diversify revenue-raising efforts. "As a result, we are now seeing clubs better able to increase membership and grow female and junior participation." Ms O'Byrne said Old Launcestonians was also helping members to identify and deal with depression/anxiety and related drug and alcohol use. This weekend, OLFC will host a Build Your Game Blue Round to raise awareness of depression and anxiety in the local community. Andrew Brown, President, OLFC, is pleased to be able to promote such an important health message to Launceston. "Good Sports and Build Your Game are important initiatives for us to be involved in. We are looking forward to some great games this weekend while providing a vital service to the wider community," Mr Brown said. Mark Nash, ADF's Good Sports Tasmania State Manager, recognises that sports clubs are the central hub of most Australian communities and often a social outlet too, especially for young people. "Alcohol is a leading cause of preventable illness and death in Australia. By introducing Good Sports and Build Your Game into sporting clubs there is a way for people to think about alcohol and the link this can have with mental health issues," Mr Nash said. "We congratulate OLFC on its continued commitment to providing a safe, healthy and fun environment not just for players but members, families and the community," he added. Build Your Game, an initiative of the Australian Drug Foundation, is a program that works with clubs to identify and help members deal with depression and related alcohol and other drug use. It is supported by beyondblue. The State Government is providing $400,000 over three years for the Good Sports and Build Your Game programs. For more information about Good Sports visit www.goodsports.com.au.