Athletics Australia (AA) and the AIS Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement (AW&E) Division have announced a joint initiative to further support athletics, appointing Josh Sebbens as the AW&E Manager for AA athletes.
The appointment is part of a broader commitment to enhance mental health and wellbeing support to Australian athletes.
Sebbens is well placed to fulfil his responsibilities as the AW&E Manager for athletics, having recently worked on athlete wellbeing initiatives with the AIS as a PhD Candidate and Psychologist. He is no stranger to athletics, touring as the team psychologist for the U20 World Championships in 2016 and 2018.
“AA and its people have always been great to work with” says Sebbens. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with athletes, coaches and administrators to drive the athlete wellbeing and engagement strategy. These are fundamental to high performance sport and life.
The AIS established the Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement team this year, led by Matti Clements, to prioritise holistic support to athletes including a focus on things like education, career training, mental health and community contributions away from training.
The AIS is also helping embed full-time AW&E managers directly in sports and across the high performance network, and has already overseen the appointment of dedicated managers resources in swimming, hockey, surfing and triathlon.
“We’re continuing our commitment to athlete wellbeing with a series of embedded roles through the national sport system and I’m excited to see the expertise Josh gained in the AIS environment being directly utilised by Athletics Australia,” says Clements.
“It’s crucial we focus on holistic athlete development, including life skills to negotiate the high-performance environment, professional development.”
Sebbens will work closely with the AIS to leverage networks and resources including the AIS Mental Health National Referral Network, AIS National Career and Education Referral Network and the Elite Athlete Friendly University Network.
Athletics Australia CEO Darren Gocher says it’s another positive move for the sport. “Athletics Australia is committed to the wellbeing of our athletes - both on and off the track,” Gocher says. “We have recently established an Athlete Advisory Group, with athlete welfare a major priority. The appointment of Josh will further support our organisation to ensure we are supporting our athletes in every way possible.”
Josh Sebbens will commence with AA on November 26th. Sebbens is a Psychologist registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and a PhD Candidate with the University of Canberra and Australian Institute of Sport. His research and professional interests include mental health and holistic development in high performance environments, and the intersection between wellbeing and peak performance.