This coming weekend Rugby League will once join forces with State of Mind to raise awareness of mental health issues within sport.
Activities at the seven Super League fixtures in Round 25 will highlight some of the sterling work that is already taking place with player, the wider game and its communities.
Now in its fourth year, the State of Mind round kicks off on Thursday August 28, when Warrington Wolves host Huddersfield at The Halliwell Jones Stadium and Giants prop Eorl Crabtree believes that young Rugby League players need to be as attentive to their mental health as they are to their physical fitness.
“State of Mind is a massive thing in Rugby League, and I think mental health is important in all aspects of life,” said Crabtree.
“It’s sometimes overlooked in Rugby League because it’s such a very masculine sport. It’s about putting your body on the line and not showing weakness.
“It’s not just about what’s on the field, it’s off the field too. It can be anything, but it all contributes to your mental health and your state of mind.
“I’ve been through a few trials and tribulations as a rugby player. I’ve had moments when I’ve been pretty down and managed to come through the other side.
“I just managed to find a way, but if I’d had a support network like we have now, I think it would have been a lot easier.”
Over 4,200 Rugby League players, officials and students have already accessed the education sessions and support mechanisms established by the RFL, which is widely regarded as being at the forefront of this key issue.
RFL Welfare Director Emma Rosewarne said: “No other sport in the UK has ever themed a round of fixtures for mental well-being.
“We are pleased to continue supporting the State of Mind programme and dedicating these matches highlights the important work that State of Mind does. It’s so important to raise awareness of the issues and encourage all communities to access the services available to them.
“The RFL continues to work hand in hand with the charity Sporting Chance to provide support mechanisms for professional players and through its relationship with Mental Health First Aid provides training for professional and community clubs to ensure that key personnel recognise signals and respond to players and others in need of support.”
Over 1,000 players, coaches and support staff from Super League and the Kingstone Press Championships, the three professional leagues in this country, have now attended State of Mind sessions, with 95 per cent of those attending never having had mental health training before.
For more information, visit www.stateofmindrugby.com or follow @SOMRugbyLeague on Twitter.