Mental Health Game: Pinjarra, Waroona set to clash for good cause

Pinjarra and Waroona will clash in their annual Mental Health game this weekend. Photo: Justin Rake.
Pinjarra and Waroona will clash in their annual Mental Health game this weekend. Photo: Justin Rake.

The Pinjarra Tigers and Waroona Demons will clash for a good cause this Saturday.

While the two will still lock horns in what is always a brutal encounter, their round five showdown will be dedicated to the well-being of all involved in the clubs and communities as they take part in their annual Mental Health Game.

This will be the fifth year the two rivals come together in support of mental health.

It's a drive both Pinjarra coach Craig Milward and Waroona Demons president Shane Della Franca say is of paramount importance for the clubs, especially after Pinjarra lost an ex-player to mental health last year.

"It hits home for both clubs," Della Franca said.

"Last year's game was especially important as one of the ex-Pinjarra players took his own life and with COVID-19 they weren't able to have a big funeral. The game was a way of celebrating his life.

"So we've lost him and other guys. This mental health clash is a chance to hopefully prevent anyone from going through that again."

"In recent years both clubs have been touched by suicide so we want to promote and raise awareness of mental health," Milward added.

"It's always a really emotional game."

The Pinjarra and Waroona football sides pictured after the 2018 Mental Health Game. Photo: Justin Rake.

The Pinjarra and Waroona football sides pictured after the 2018 Mental Health Game. Photo: Justin Rake.

Della Franca said the annual mental health game offered a chance to let players know there is help out there.

"The clash gives both clubs the opportunity to talk about mental health and get experts in to speak to all the players," Della Franca said.

"Some players don't have the courage to speak up themselves and this will hopefully give them an opportunity to know it's ok to speak out.

"This lets them know there is an avenue to talk if they need."

As well as trying to break the stigma surrounding mental health, the game will be used to raise funds for the Peel Health Hub, which has been inundated with young people seeking help.

The two sides will mark the occasion by donning their specific mental health jumpers for the game.

The Mental Health Game between Waroona and Pinjarra is on Saturday, May 8 and is set to begin at 2.30pm on Waroona Oval.

If you or someone you know needs urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or Kids Helpline (5 to 25 years) on 1800 55 1800.