Photo: Scott Davis © NRL Photos

NRL State of Mind ambassadors Michael Morgan, Darius Boyd and Dane Gagai were joined by their Queensland Origin teammates yesterday to announce close to $1 million worth of funding in Queensland for the NRL’s State of Mind program.

>>> More information: nrlstateofmind.com.au

Now in its fourth year, the NRL State of Mind campaign has reached more than 10 million people across Australia and New Zealand, with the aim of helping to reduce the stigma around mental illness, stimulate help-seeking behaviours and increase mental health literacy amongst communities.
 
The funding was officially announced at a Queensland Parliamentary Friends of Rugby League luncheon, with the Queensland Origin team joining the Queensland Premier, Treasurer and members of the NRL and QRL in support of the fight against mental illness.
 
Ambassador Darius Boyd said the funding was vital to the ongoing ability to reach communities that are at risk and in need of support.
 
“I’ve experienced the effects of pressure and depression and with one in two people affected by mental illness at some point in their life, we cannot sit by as a community and have people suffering and feeling like they are alone,” Mr Boyd said.
 
Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Cameron Dick, said the funding would help reach regional and rural communities, where services were not as available as in some built up areas.
 
“What we’re trying to do as a government is lift the stigma surrounding people talking about mental health,” said Mr Dick.
 
“Football clubs can reach a lot of people who would not otherwise be comfortable talking about mental health and there is a clear need to reach more people to talk about mental health.”
 
Funding will go directly towards a newly developed grassroots program – providing resource packs, education and support programs, action plans and incentive programs for communities and individuals in need.
 
Grassroots education programs and support services will reach more than 220 local communities throughout Queensland over the next three years, helping to empower clubs to create mental health friendly environments and communities.
 
The NRL State of Mind program is supported by national mental health partners including Lifeline, The Black Dog Institute, Headspace and Kids Helpline, who all provide expert advice and guidance for the program.
 
Pasifika mental health support group Le Va has also joined the NRL State of Mind program as an invaluable addition for Rugby League Pasifika communities.