GMHBA and Geelong Football Club team up to tackle mental health crisis in Geelong schools

Published 20 Feb 2024

Five Geelong schools will gain invaluable access to The Resilience Project thanks to a new partnership between GMHBA Health Insurance and the Geelong Football Club.  

Taking a proactive approach to confronting statistics that show a growing number of young people are struggling with their mental health, the partnership will provide students with the tools and resources they need to build positive mental health and resilience. 

GMHBA and the Geelong Cats share a rich history and have worked together for many years to engage with local schools, with a mutual commitment to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and strong community values. 

The Resilience Project, powered by GMHBA with support from GFC, will see almost 2,000 students from Newcomb Primary School, Whittington Primary School, Lara Primary School, Geelong East Primary School and Western Heights Secondary College, embark on a two-year program learning the principles of GEM (Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness) and Emotional Literacy. 

GMHBA CEO David Greig said the benefits for students who have already participated in the program, showed improved confidence, self-esteem and ability to express emotions. 

“Investing in a program that directly impacts the mental health and wellbeing of school children is something GMHBA is proud to stand behind,” he said. “One in four* adolescents will experience mental health problems this year and nearly two thirds of them will not seek help, so supporting local efforts in this space responds to widespread community need.” 

Geelong Football Club CEO Steve Hocking said he was excited to see the new partnership come to life. 

“We’re thrilled to see the next iteration of our Cats Community schools-based program take shape with The Resilience Project, with continued support from GMHBA in the school health program space,” he said. 

“Geelong Cats players across both our men’s and women’s programs will be involved in delivering the program, helping to share important messages about mental health and wellbeing providing positive and nurturing environments for the young people in our region to thrive.” 

The Resilience Project CEO, Ben Waterman, said The Resilience Project’s School Wellbeing Program was being implemented in over 1000 schools nationwide this year alone, with the program’s efficacy independently assessed by The University of Adelaide and The University of Melbourne, showing very promising results.   

“A preventative approach is the key to tackling Australia’s youth mental health crisis. The evidence-based, positive wellbeing strategies in our program are proven to build young people’s capacity to deal with adversity,” he said. “We are so excited more students in the Geelong area will now have access to our program, and this has been made possible through our work with GMHBA and Geelong Football Club. 

 GMHBA will assist selected schools by contributing to the funding of the program fee.  The Geelong Football Club will amplify the impact of the program with player appearances and support at special events.  

Key data points from The Resilience Project^: 

  • 1 in 4 adolescents have a mental illness 
  • 1 in 7 primary school children have a mental illness 
  • 65% of adolescents do not seek help 



* The Resilience Project: 

^ The Resilience Project School Wellbeing Program: