The NSW Government has joined forces with the NRL and a number of Australia’s leading mental health providers during this year’s State of Origin series to encourage people to help break down the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
NSW Minister for Mental Health, Kevin Humphries, said the ‘What’s Your State of Mind’ campaign will see past and present NRL and Origin greats Mal Meninga, Jonathan Thurston, Paul Gallen, Mitchell Pearce, Greg Inglis, Roy Asotasi and Andrew Ryan urge people to take responsibility for their own mental health and encourage people to look out for one another.
“The campaign has also brought together mental health service providers including beyondblue, Kids Helpline, headspace, SANE Australia, Lifeline, Black Dog Institute and MensLine Australia to encourage all Australians to take the time to improve their understanding of mental illness,” Mr Humphries said.
“By having some of our best known sport stars at one of the biggest events on the Australian sporting calendar promoting mental health, this campaign is a hugely important step towards building resilience and encouraging people to support one another.
“I would encourage all Australians to take the time during this year’s State of Origin campaign to find out more about mental illness and the impact it has on those who live with it, and on the broader community.”
The campaign will include a dedicated mental health awareness website and training for a number of NRL ambassadors to promote the campaign’s message in schools and the community.
NRL Chief Executive, Dave Smith, said aligning the campaign with one of the showpieces of the Rugby League season highlighted the NRL’s commitment to combating the stigma that currently sees far too many people not seeking help when they need it.
“Mental illness does not discriminate and even in a game as tough as Rugby League we are faced with mental health challenges. Our Rugby League family of players, officials, volunteers and supporters should know that it’s okay to talk to someone if you don’t feel right,” Mr Smith said.
“Having the courage to talk about how you are feeling ensures you will have the support of others and at the same time you could be giving someone else the confidence to talk about how they feel.”
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