Kicking the Stigma Project

My name is Jackson Clark, I am a 23-year-old radio presenter and part-time footballer from Darwin.


I am currently undertaking a journey I’ve called the “Kicking the Stigma Project” in which I aim to play one game of football in each state or territory in Australia in the one season.


In the process, I’ll be driving social media campaigns and conducting short presentations regarding mental health awareness and suicide prevention.


Ultimately, it is in the aim of destigmatising mental illnesses in football clubs and the purpose is to encourage coaches, players and supporters of football clubs to seek help regarding mental health concerns.


I am an ambassador for a non-for-profit mental health charity called Livin and also an advisor for an exciting new mental health phone app titled the IF Project.


The project started off self-funded and is reliant on generous sponsorship donations that I’ve received from small businesses and other individuals. If you would like to find out more about the project to potentially help financially in some form, or if you’re football club would like to be involved, please send me a private message. No good deed will go unnoticed.


So far, I’ve covered three states Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT, with Victoria (Lara FC) coming up this weekend.


Check out more on social media:

Facebook – NT Football with Jackson Clark
Instagram – @whoisjacksonclark


QUEENSLAND – Coolangatta Blues Football Club (Queensland Football Association Division One)



Yesterday afternoon was game numero uno as I was given the opportunity to suit up for the Coolangatta Blues Football Club in Queensland. Traditionally a very good football team on and off the field, the club has fallen on hard times in recent years. But they’re back on track with strong leadership on and off the field and plenty of young talent coming through the ranks. I caught the club bus to the game and within half an hour some members of the team were opening up about their struggles with mental illnesses. This continued throughout the day which indicates that football clubs are becoming more and more open to supporting those in their fraternity that suffer with a mental illness. Also, I loved seeing that the club has adopted its Indigenous jumper as its permanent away strip for the season.


NEW SOUTH WALES – Coffs Breakers Football (AFL North Coast)


Second game of the football / mental health project done and dusted. Last night I pulled on a Coffs Harbour Breakers jumper and played an away game against the Grafton Tigers in the AFL North Coast (NSW) league. Grafton is rugby league territory and it was a tough old game played under lights in wet conditions. A few observations – we played with a white ball and one of the opposition players wore basketball shorts, so it was a little different. Despite not being a traditional footballing region, it was very competitive and the game was played in good spirit. It’s great to see the sport of Australian football grow in these areas of the country. Coffs Breakers have been fantastic so far throwing their support behind this project. Great bunch of lads on and off the field so if you’re ever in the region and looking for a kick, check them out.


ACT – Gungahlin Jets Football Club (AFL Canberra First Division)


I was given the opportunity to pull on a Gungahlin Jets jumper in the AFL Canberra First Grade competition yesterday afternoon. It’s a really good standard league and it’s fair to say it wasn’t our day! But the Jets are a club with plenty of potential; a welcoming environment, talented junior players and a very talented women’s side. These things are often the foundations for results to start turning around in the higher grades. Like the other clubs that I have played at, the Jets went above and beyond to accommodate me and support the Kicking the Stigma Project. On a brighter note, being a Darwin boy, I wasn’t looking forward to Canberra’s weather, but it couldn’t have been better yesterday – low 20s and sunny. It was also a weird journey to get to Australia’s capital. I caught a 15-hour bus ride from Coffs Harbour and we stopped at a service station in some small town in the middle of the night. This random, potentially stray, dog ran onboard the bus and started growling and half threatening to attack people before finally falling asleep … on one of the seats. It delayed us leaving because no one really wanted to disturb the dog’s sleep but eventually the bus driver took one for the team and lured it out. Little bit of light entertainment.


I’ve also had some support from AFL players Tom Rockliff, Steven May, Jayden Hunt and AFLW player Tayla Harris.



If you or someone close to you is struggling with a mental health concern, please seek professional help.


Lifeline (and hyperlink the word Lifeline to: ) is a free and confidential support service which can be reached on 13 11 14.

Beyond Blue (and link that to can be reached on 1300 22 46 36.

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.


  1. Brooke Neindorf says

    Got a South Australian footy team to play for yet Jackson?

  2. Fantastic work Jackson. We’ve come a long way to remove the stigma of mental health issues, but there’s along way to go.

    Here in Melbourne there’s a mob called Reclink. They organise sporting activities for the marginalised. Footy teams, cricket teams, and various other sporting activities. Participation is so important; break down the isolation people experience.

    Keep up the great work.


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