The Chemist Warehouse WNBL will shine the spotlight on mental health and suicide prevention in the final round of the regular season this weekend.
Through a partnership with Lifeline Australia, the competition will raise awareness and funds for the national charity with every club donating $100 per three-point shot made by their team during Round 15 and that total raised will then be matched by the Chemist Warehouse WNBL.
Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing emotional distress with access to a 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention service.
The initiative has been driven by Deakin Melbourne Boomers captain Jenna O’Hea, following the tragic loss of a family member last year.
“On December 14, our family received the devastating news that my uncle had taken his life,” O’Hea said.
“Over 300 people attended his funeral and to see so much love in the room for him warmed my heart, but it also made me much sadder because I wish he knew how many people cared for him and adored him.
“I’m very proud that Round 15 will be ‘Lifeline Round.’ So many people suffer alone and in silence, but this round will help make people aware that it is a strength, not a weakness, to ask for help.”
Head of the Chemist Warehouse WNBL, Sally Phillips has been touched by O’Hea’s courage and is honoured to have the league support her cause.
“Everyone at the Chemist Warehouse WNBL has been thinking of Jenna and her family at this difficult time,” Phillips said.
“While we are partnering with Lifeline under incredibly sad circumstances, I am blown away by Jenna’s bravery. It takes a very special person to publicly share their own story at a time when they are grieving because they genuinely want to make a difference to the lives of others.
“I am confident that we can save more lives if we treat everyone that is experiencing a personal crisis with empathy and respect. Words have wings so speak good things.”
The initiative has the full support of all eight clubs and every player in the league including Lifeline Canberra ambassador, Marianna Tolo.
“Lifeline is always there to provide support, making sure every person is valued,” Tolo said.
“Every donation received will make a huge difference in helping people through times of crisis. In supporting Lifeline you are supporting every Australian as so many of us unfortunately have been impacted by suicide.”
Lifeline Australia have created a special donation portal for the weekend. Text ‘WNBL’ to 0427 992 713 and join us in our efforts to make sure every Australian has somewhere to turn when they need it.
“Firstly, our thoughts and condolences are with Jenna and her family at this difficult time,” said Thilini Perera, Acting CEO of Lifeline Australia.
“We’re very grateful to Jenna for working to ensure people know that help is available through Lifeline. We also wish to thank the Chemist Warehouse WNBL for supporting Jenna and assisting her to encourage fans to donate to Lifeline so we can be there to answer more calls.”
CEO of the Player’s Association, Jacob Holmes, welcomed the initiative, saying it had been inspiring to witness the courage of players in leading the conversation on mental health and suicide prevention, reiterating the need for the Players’ Association to continue to support its players.
“Suicide remains a serious societal issue that has tragic consequences. Our players are not immune to its impact and this is evidenced by Jenna’s experience.
“It is critical that our game continues to support our players during their professional careers and this initiative is indicative of the changing attitudes to mental health; that athletes feel supported in speaking out and are taking proactive steps to tackle pervasive societal issues.
“We believe that Lifeline round will help immensely to further educate our players and the general public, while raising awareness and funds for a vital cause.”
The Players’ Association continues to prioritise these causes through its Player Development Program which delivers mental health, wellbeing, and development support and services.
Lifeline encourages anyone who is struggling or who is caring for someone who is in emotional distress, to please reach out for support and remember that Lifeline is available 24 hours a day for a confidential chat, just call 13 11 14; or chat to a crisis supporter online at lifeline.org.au from 7 to midnight every night. Find out how these services can help you, a friend or loved one here.