PROGRESS: Representatives from rugby league clubs and mental health services for the State of Minds meeting in Grafton.
PROGRESS: Representatives from rugby league clubs and mental health services for the State of Minds meeting in Grafton. Contributed

Positive state of minds at mental health meeting

IF JUST one person speaks up about any problem's they might be having with mental illness, then last week's NRL State of Minds meeting in Grafton would be a success, according to South Grafton Rebels vice president Janita Cooper.

Representatives from both junior and senior grades of the Rebels and Grafton Ghosts met with NRL State of Minds ambassador David Shillington, as well as local mental health support providers to help raise awareness of the problem and reduce the stigma of mental health problems.

As a mother of three boys who all play rugby league, Mrs Cooper said the meeting a great benefit to start a conversation around mental health.

"I think for players and supporters to see their role models in the NRL speaking out about their mental health and their personal issues is a real great start," she said.

"For me personally, I found the information they had was great to show people there is help there and available before they get stuck too far to where they think they can't go back.

"Men really do find it hard to speak up and ask for help, so just to make them feel comfortable and not feel embarased to ask for help is a really positive thing."

Mrs Cooper said she was looking forward to taking information on mental health services back to her club.

"The Rebels will be looking to hold an information night with our players, as well as Samantha Osborne (Rural Adversity Mental Health Program Coordinator) who will talk about the services available," she said.

Mrs Cooper said all sporting clubs in the Clarence Valley should be involved in learning what mental health services can be provided to their players and supporters.

"I think it's not just for league players, but the mental health services that are being run by the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health is open for all sports," she said.



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