New Vodafone Warriors signing Jeff Robson and team-mate John Palavi are among the NRL State of Mind ambassadors for the 2016 season.
Now in its third year, the NRL State of Mind programme aims to encourage players, clubs and communities to speak up and seek help if they are experiencing any form of difficulty or difference in their mood.
The ambassadors have all nominated themselves for the roles because they want to assist with the programme.
NRL head of community Adam Check said the programme would evolve further next year with the support of the code’s partners.
“Together, our partners and ambassadors have spent time listening and actively participating at community and club forums,” said Check.
“To have a self-nominated ambassador at every club next year goes to show how serious our game, our players and our clubs are about mental wellbeing as part of their culture.”
In addition to new ambassadors, the NRL State of Mind programme retains 10 incumbent ambassadors from 2015, Palavi being one of those (Ben Henry also served as an ambassador this year).
After extensive consultation with coalition partners and junior clubs, an NRL State of Mind grassroots programme has also been developed and will be delivered to select junior clubs throughout 2016.
The aim of the programme is to:
• Reduce the stigma around mental health within clubs and communities
• Increase mental health literacy across grassroots rugby league clubs
• Stimulate help seeking behaviours among club members and communities
Current NRL State of Mind ambassador Darius Boyd said more and more players were talking about their feelings with their families and friends, with mental illness no longer something to be kept bottled up.
“Mental illness can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. It’s not a rugby league issue; it’s a society issue,” he said.
“It’s important that we all work together to encourage people of all ages to speak out when they are feeling vulnerable.”
To learn more about the programme and if you or anyone you know would like support, visit www.nrlstateofmind.com.au
2016 NRL State of Mind ambassadors
Moses Mbye (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Iosia Soliola (Canberra Raiders)
Joseph Paulo (Cronulla Sharks)
David Shillington (Gold Coast Titans)
Dane Gagai (Newcastle Knights)
Suaia Matagi (Penrith Panthers)
James Segeyaro (Penrith Panthers)
David Tyrrell (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters)
Dale Finucane (Melbourne Storm)
Jeff Robson (Vodafone Warriors)
Matt Ballin (Wests Tigers)
Ruan Sims (Australian Jillaroos)
Samantha Hopkin (Touch Football Australia)
2015 NRL State of Mind ambassadors continuing in 2016
Darius Boyd (Brisbane Broncos)
Sam Tagataese (Cronulla Sharks)
Brenton Lawrence (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Josh Starling (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Tariq Sims (Newcastle Knights)
Michael Morgan (North Queensland Cowboys)
Luke Kelly (Parramatta Eels)
Joel Thompson (St George Illawarra Dragons)
John Palavi (Vodafone Warriors)
Dene Halatau (Wests Tigers)