Preston Campbell, Nathan Hindmarsh, David Shillington and Michael Crocker are among the NRL stars who will help tackle the stigma associated with mental health issues during this week’s Telstra Premiership ‘Exercise Your Mood’ Round.

The NRL has dedicated Round 24 to raising awareness of the positive effects of exercise on mood disorders such as depression and bi-polar as part of their partnership with the Black Dog Institute, a leading Australian and international authority on mood disorders. 

In partnership with the NRL’s ongoing commitment to addressing the stigmas surrounding mental health, Black Dog is providing education on mood disorders to NRL clubs (players, officials and staff) and professional training development to NRL Club Welfare and Education Managers.

“Mood disorders such as depression and bi-polar affect people from all walks of life and Rugby League players are no exception,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said.

“Something as simple as exercise can play an important part in managing these conditions and it’s important that we work together to break down the stigmas surrounding mental health and let people know that there is help available.”

As part of the round, NRL Clubs will be raising awareness of the benefits of exercise on mental health in their own unique way. 

Parramatta Eels captain Nathan Hindmarsh will wear Black Dog ‘orange’ speedos, while the Manly Sea Eagles will parade black dogs at Brookvale Oval at half-time of their blockbuster clash with the Bulldogs. 

Titans captain Preston Campbell, a Black Dog ambassador, and his Gold Coast team-mates will also don special edition orange socks to raise awareness of the importance of exercise in the treatment of mental health in Australia.

The Black Dog Institute has undertaken research into the benefits of exercise and its relationship with mental health that shows that people who exercise regularly experience fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to no treatment. 

“Exercise is recognised by many doctors as ‘nature's anti-depressant’. The more we move the better we feel,” said Professor Gordon Parker, Executive Director of the Black Dog Institute.

“Feeling tired and being less motivated in general are two very common symptoms of depression. Start slowly and build-up gradually.

“Exercise as a treatment for depression has the added benefit of improving general health and preventing serious illness.” 

‘Exercise Your Mood’ Round activities will promote the mental health benefits from exercising including:
Release of endorphins
Interruption of the “inactivity cycle” of depression
Distraction from worrying
Changes in the brain’s chemistry
Reduction in the levels of stress 
Improved sleep, fitness and energy
Increased sense of control and self esteem
Promoting social interaction.

To find out more about the campaign and how you can be involved, visit the Black Dog Institute website: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au.