How can public programs build wellbeing?

Learn how an app for footie fans changed conversations around wellbeing and took users from mental illness to mental fitness with the help of high-profile AFL players.

Denise talks to Dr Jo Mitchell about using technology to connect us and build mental health.



Dr Jo Mitchell, clinical psychologist, is co-founder and director of the Mind Room in Melbourne. Jo has more than 25 years’ experience working with high-performance athletes and is the leader of the MindMax project – an exciting initiative bringing wellbeing strategies to footie fans in Australia.


The lowdown

In this interview, Jo talks about the MindMax project and how it has led to large scale change in communicating about mental health and psychological wellbeing. MindMax is an app developed for AFL fans with the aim of increasing wellbeing, resilience skills, and empowering this community to start a conversation about taking charge of and building mental fitness.

Mindmax includes wellbeing learning, interactive games, and a discussion forum focused around Australian Rules Football. The app is ‘science informed but player-led’. The mental health info is delivered to fans by their heroes – the players themselves. The ‘bite-sized’ learning topics include mindfulness, social connectivity, and managing emotions.

In this community, the phrases ‘Fit minds kick goals’ and ‘mental fitness’ are used instead of mental health and wellbeing. MindMax intends to make learning about mental fitness fun and uses language that appeals to the fans.

By encouraging fans to talk about mental fitness and to share how they build their wellbeing in the app and on various social media platforms, Mindmax has had a lot of success in normalising and ‘changing the conversation’ around mental fitness.

MindMax is about planting seeds of interest in building wellbeing, with the hope that fans will want to dive deeper into the ideas, begin to talk about wellbeing with others and reach out for more information and strategies from other resources.


Additional resources

Check out the MindMax website:

Find out more about Jo’s work at the Mind Room:

Try out a wellbeing app for yourself: