One year ago on R U OK day Racing and Wagering WA launched Racing Assist, a free and confidential program open to licensed racing participants across all three racing codes.
One year later, September 2019, RWWA celebrated the anniversary of the program.
Racing Assist runs alongside other programs supported by RWWA including the Jockey Assistance Program, and is available to licensed trainers, drivers, jockeys, stable hands, track work riders, farriers and riders agents plus race club employees and volunteers.
Most importantly, the Racing Assist program is accessible right across the state, with racing participants in regional locations all able to use it. Which holds great significance as suicide rates in rural and remote areas of Australia are significantly higher than the national average and very remote regions have suicide rates more than double that of major capital cities.
For the one year anniversary of the program RWWA Representatives held a roadshow at various racing locations offering free coffee and being available to chat to participants about the Racing Assist program.
The roadshow consisted of:
- Cannington Greyhounds – 11 September
- Ascot track work – 12 September
- Kalgoorlie Boulder Race Club track work – 12 September
- Byford Harness Trials – 15 September
- Pinjarra Harness Race Meeting – 16 September
- Lark Hill Trials – 16 September
RWWA Industry Wellbeing and Careers Coordinator Madi Brewer said the roadshow was a great opportunity to remind participants about the program and the support it offers.
“Our anniversary events targeted licenced racing participants and it was great to get out and speak to them about the program. The feedback has been positive and majority of participants who were asked if they had heard of Racing Assist said they had, so it’s great that the program and message is getting out there,” Mrs Brewer said.
“Mental health is a hard topic to talk about, especially for those struggling with it. But it’s so important to speak out whether that’s talking to your friends, your family or Racing Assist! Through this initiative I am extremely proud that we have been able to provide an avenue for those who have decided to take the opportunity to seek assistance. We want to get more people talking and continue to work on breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health, particularly in the racing industry.”
“It’s also important to look out for each other and use days like R U OK Day? as a chance to follow up with people who have been going through challenging times but it’s something to be aware of for the other 364 days of the year too. Check in on a mate and if they are a licenced racing participant don’t hesitate to let them know about Racing Assist.”
PeopleSense is the external service provider for Racing Assist, offering a free phone support service to all participants staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The program provides:
- 24 hour phone emergency counselling service to licenced participants, 7 days a week
- A confidential and free platform for licensed participants to seek professional help with a qualified registered psychologist
- Services/access to all regional racing locations e.g. Broome, Esperance etc.
- Up to 6 free individual sessions per licenced participant per annum, with the option to transition to a Mental Health Care Plan which is Medicare supported.
- Psychologist continuity for participants using the program.
Racing can be a merciless sport for its participants. It is a sport that runs all year round and includes long hours each day. As well as this the participants are continually caring for their animals of the sport and their staff.
RWWA General Manager Racing Charlotte Mills said the discussion about mental health has become more prominent in racing.
“In recent times high profile participants have gone public with their battles with various conditions, and this encourages the requirement for support for our racing participants, and opens the conversation about mental health,” Mrs Mills said.
“Extending RWWAs mental health and wellbeing support to all participants across all three racing codes in the form of the Racing Assist program allows us to look after the most important part of the racing industry, its people.”
“It is important for WA racing participants to know that this service is available to them, at any time they need it.”
Those wanting to use the Racing Assist service can call 1300 307 912, or visit www.racingassist.com.au. Additionally anyone battling mental health is also encouraged to call Beyondblue on 1300 224 636, or Lifeline on 13 11 14 in urgent or crisis emergency situations.