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Funding grassroots footy clubs to tackle mental health from the ground up

Published: 19 May 2021
Released by: Deputy Premier

Rugby league clubs across the state will receive a mental health boost thanks to a $280,000 investment in the NRL’s flagship wellbeing initiative from the NSW Government.

The State of Mind program provides education and ongoing support to grassroots clubs to help reduce the stigma around mental illness and encourage those who need help to reach out. 
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the money will be a game changer for regional communities across NSW. 

“There will be 60 mental health workshops held around the state for primary school students, high school students and adults delivered at both schools and local footy clubs,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The workshops are age-appropriate and are an important way of getting the message out that it’s ok to talk about mental health and seek help if need be. 

“The program connects rugby league communities, including participants, fans and volunteers with mental health partners and local service providers.”

The key message behind the program is to ask young people the question: ‘What’s Your State of Mind?’.

Minister for Mental Health and Regional Youth Bronnie Taylor said breaking down the stigma of mental health has come a long way, but more needs to be done. 

“We’re building a safer, stronger regional NSW and the State of Mind program is a fantastic way to reach people from Muswellbrook to Merimbula,” Mrs Taylor said.

“Rugby league clubs are often at the heart of the community and getting young people talking about their mental health and wellbeing is a brilliant way to spread the word. 

“There are also face-to-face sessions to improve mental health literacy as well as resources for clubs to educate players and fans of all ages.”

More than 5000 people across Australia have already participated and 281 mental health action plans have been drawn up. 

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo thanked the NSW Government for its support of the program.
“The NRL has a strong commitment to using the power of rugby league across communities and the profile of NRL players to make a positive social impact,” Mr Abdo said.

“Improving the mental wellbeing of our players, volunteers and administrators is a priority and with the support of the NSW Government thousands of additional people in our communities will be able to benefit from the State of Mind program.

“The State of Mind program is aimed at providing a toolkit for people of all ages to monitor and manage their overall wellbeing and to look for the early indicators that they or someone else needs support.” 

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