Local rugby league players are set to benefit from a National Rugby League (NRL) program to de-stigmatise mental health issues and encourage young men and women to improve their mental health.
The NRL’s State of Mind Program will be available to Australia’s 4,000 local rugby league players designed to help support and improve mental health.
It will help provide tools and strategies to manage mental health, increase social support for young people and their families, and connect to support services.
It includes educating senior players, coaches and staff on mental wellbeing, connecting support services to clubs and identifying action to support mental health in clubs.
A $100,000 grant will be made available to the NRL to support young people.
Expansion of prevention programs to reduce youth mental illness is a key strategy outlined in the Western Australian Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025.
It builds on previous similar efforts made by the Mental Health Commission with AFL and netball.
Health Minister Roger Cook said the program aims to support young people to battle mental illness.
“Young people experience the highest prevalence and incidence for mental illness across the lifespan, so it is critical we give them the support and information early,” he said.
“This program will give young people the tools an strategies they need to understand and acknowledge mental health, and mental illness, and to know what to do if they, or someone they know needs help.”
“Grassroots sporting and community organisations can play an important role in helping communities to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, and I thank the NRL for their support.”
NRL Ambassador Clinton Toopi said it has already had success in other States and he hoped that WA would have the same success.
“Our footy communities, our wider communities can feel comfortable in approaching and knowing where to seek that support, knowing who are the professionals in their towns in their communities,” he said.
“We’re just reinforcing the powerful messages that they’re currently doing.”
He said the program was improving dialogue about mental health.
“I think that’s where it’s been stigmatised and now we’re de-stigmatising it with our program, with our ambassadors, with the impact the game is having across communities, across Australia.”
“Our footy communities, our wider communities can feel comfortable in approaching and knowing where to seek that support, knowing who are the professionals in their towns in their communities”