NRL Launch State Of Mind CSR Campaign At State Of Origin

Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) is working in tandem with the country’s key mental health providers to launch a mental wellness campaign – What’s Your State Of Mind’ – leveraging interest in its flagship ‘Holden State Of Origin’ series.


Using the profile of Australia’s most watched sports series, the objective is to help breakdown stereotypes and stigmas in relation to mental health.


The initiative is genuinely a show of game-wide unity as it not only features the two rival coaches (Mal Meninga and Laurie Daley), but it also follows on the from the UK Rugby Football League’s own 2012/13 ‘State Of Mind’ campaign.


Meninga and Daley came together today to launch the programme on the eve of the first State Of ORIGIN GAME at Sydney’s Rugby League Central and they feature in the initiative’s spearhead Community Service Announcements.



The TV work also feature Johnathan Thurston, Paul Gallen, Mitchell Pearce, Greg Inglis, Roy Asotasi and Andrew Ryan.



These CSAs will be broadcast throughout the six weeks of the 2013 Holden State of Origin Series.


As part of the launch event, the NRL unveiled two unique jerseys to be auctioned to raise funds for the mental health providers participating in the campaign.


The NRL teams up with award-winning designer and retailer Vivien Challita (of Vee Love Couture) to create two NSW VB Blues and QLD XXXX Maroons jerseys embellished over 50 hours with more than 35,000 Swarovski crystals and signed by the respective team members of the two sides.


The two jerseys which will be auctioned online at http://www.nrlauctions.com


The campaign also includes a dedicated website – www.nrlstateofmind.com.au – and Z-cards with information for those seeking help.


A Twitter strand the campaign is encouraging people to tweet their own support for the campaign using the hashtag #stateofmind with the NRL showcasing pledges of support through the State Of Origin series.


The mental health service providers involved – who include Headspace (National Youth Mental Health Foundation); Beyond Blue; SANE Australia; Lifeline; Black Dog Institute; Davidson Trahaire Corpsych; and MensLine Australia – demonstrate that mental health affects one in five people in Australia.


The collective stresses that the campaign is an important initiative for the community in general, as well as for Rugby League players in particular.


‘The NRL’s commitment to this campaign is demonstrated by the fact we have aligned it with the prestigious State of Origin, which is one of the pinnacle showpieces of the season,’ says NRL CEO Dave Smith.


‘Mental health does not discriminate – even in a game as tough as Rugby League – we are faced with mental health challenges. Our Rugby League family of players, officials and volunteers should know that it’s okay to talk to someone if you don’t feel right. 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.’


NRL Senior Welfare and Education Manager Paul Heptonstall explains that the campaign is a key addition to the programs and work already being done across the game in this area, with the employment of dedicated mental health trained Welfare Managers at every NRL Club.


‘Rugby League is a physical sport and the physical effects are often seen on our players, however just like in society the mental effects are generally not as visible,’ says Heptonstall.


‘The State of Mind Campaign brings together mental health service providers under one umbrella, to help breakdown stereotypes and stigmas in relation to mental health. We also hope this campaign will encourage members of the community to take ownership and responsibility of their own state of mind and encourage everyone to look out for each other.




Rugby League seems an entirely appropriate arena in which to launch such a campaign as it is traditional considered to be a particularly macho sport where admitting any kind of weakness is seen as anathema.


The objective of the program is to ensure a healthier environment – in the game in particular and the community in general – to ensure mental health issues are treated the same as any other illness.


This matches the aims of the UK Rugby League’s award-winning ‘State of Mind’ campaign launched at the 2012 Grand Final at Old Trafford Manchester on 6 October.


This campaign was spearheaded by a 60-second trailer.



The initiative initially emerged after mental health professionals and rugby league bosses got together following the tragic suicide of Wigan and England player Terry Newton.


This UK campaign initially delivered mental health training to 372 players, coaches and support staff at every club within the top flight of rugby league.


The campaign was further backed by other sports stars, including football’s Roy Keane and Paul Merson as well as top snowboarder David Pitschi and the world’s number one surfer Joel Parkinson.


In 2013 it was further extended to teams within the championship leagues and in the following 2013 season a new programme of mental health awareness was rolled out to all amateur club.


Also in January this year it launched a new film to further spread awareness of mental health and suicide prevention issues and the State of Mind message across the professional sport, wider rugby league communities and beyond.



It also announced its intention to expand in Wales and Fracce and into the wider world – which it now has following the NRL State Of Origin led work.




NRL State Of Mind Website



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NRL Website



Holden Website



RFL State Of Mind Website



Rugby Football League Website




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