Broncos and Maroons star Darius Boyd is an NRL State of Mind Ambassador.

Boyd to help with mental health

As a 2015 State of Mind ambassador, Brisbane Broncos and Queensland Maroons star Darius Boyd wants to help anyone who is dealing with depression and increase mental health literacy in clubs and communities.

Boyd is one of 14 ambassadors appointed by the NRL, following liaison with club career coaches, to increase awareness around mental health – one of the country's biggest health issues.

"I have a history of mental health issues in my family, so I can really relate," Boyd says.

"I was focussing on the bad things and the negative things in my life. I had forgotten the reasons I played football as a kid which were for the enjoyment, the fun and all the teammates and friends you make from it.

"I isolated myself. I didn't want to hang out with friends or family as much and it started to get worse. It was a downward spiral and it got to the point where I needed to speak up and ask for help."

Mental illness affects one in two people nationally. Rugby league is in a unique position to have a positive impact on mental health by using its profile and players to lead discussion, connect people and help break the silence on what can be a life-threatening matter.

The engagement of elite players is critical in bringing a different attitude to the way mental health is addressed within the community.

"Sometimes it's only a question to get the help you need," Boyd said

"It's something that took me a while, I wasn't sure where I was at or what I needed.

"Speaking up, you realise there are a lot of other people in your situation."

The State of Mind Ambassadors, who are current NRL squad members, volunteered for the roles because they wanted to make a difference in the area of mental health.

The nomination process took into account; reputation both on and off the field, a desire to contribute to the mental wellness of the community, participation in education in a relevant field and a willingness and capacity to participate in activities outside the club football schedule. 

"Things don't always go the way you plan. It can be tough and sometimes you don't know how to deal with that," Boyd said.

"I'm really happy with the place I'm at now so I want to help and give back to anyone who is in my situation.

"If I can help in any way I'd love to."

All ambassadors will receive Mental Health First Aid training and qualifications, training and support to be able to deliver a mental health program designed by the Black Dog Institute, the opportunity to give back to their community in a meaningful way and become a leader in mental health awareness within their clubs. 

The NRL is in coalition with Lifeline, Kids Helpline, Headspace and the Black Dog Institute to implement a number of new initiatives.

For more information visit nrlstateofmind.com.au