With rural regions across Australia struggling with mental illness and suicide, Bowls South Australia (SA) are determined to play a role in supporting rural families by using their clubs as support networks.
Helping lead their charge will be the sport’s first mental health ambassador Brooke Fogden, know for his time on reality TV show House Rules.
A Loxton local, Fogden spent time on the Adelaide Crows AFL list before carving out a successful 165 game career in the SANFL.
He has recently been involved with the previously struggling now thriving Millswood Bowls Club in Adelaide and has decided to stay connected with the sport.
With over 41,000 participants and 220 clubs dispersed across South Australia, they all now have a statewide plan to engage with as all stakeholders in the sport move towards supporting mental illness.
“Our facilities tend to become a hub in rural communities, you get a lot of farmers, and mental health and suicide, we’re not immune to that,” Bowls SA chief executive Mark Easton told The Advertiser.
“Certainly every club would be affected by suicide, particularly in the rural space where some farmers may be losing family farms … but I don’t think any sport would be immune.”
“I think we have a role to play, in bowls we have a very inclusive nature to it, we don’t discriminate on any grounds.
“It’s one of the only sports where you can gather people in and walk up and down and have a chat and do some networking.”
Image – Courtesy of The Advertiser