Wests Tigers prop Keith Galloway is one of 14 State of Mind ambassadors appointed by the NRL to increase awareness around mental health.

Galloway supports State of Mind

Wests Tigers prop Keith Galloway is one of 14 State of Mind ambassadors appointed by the NRL to increase awareness around mental health - one of the country's biggest health issues.

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

"I haven't experienced any mental health issues myself, but I have seen it affect people around me so I thought I'd put my hand up to help out," Galloway said.

"People have a perception about players being tough guys, but behind closed doors we are normal people that struggle and deal with things like everyone else.

"We need to address it and break the stigma about mental health, allow people to talk about their feelings. It's a great initiative by the NRL and I thought I'd like to help out."

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.

"When people get injuries or are losing games or they get dropped to reserve grade you can tell they are struggling," Galloway said.

"People deal with things differently and I guess we need to help each other out."

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.

"It's a real issue so we've got to make everyone realise that. You can speak up, you can seek help. It doesn't matter what your background is, everyone can suffer mental health issues at some time during their life," Galloway said.

"There's always help around. We have welfare officers at the club, senior players and coaches.

"Some people may not be comfortable speaking with the head coach, but they could speak to other players or the doctor at the club. It's just making sure everyone knows they have support and that they are not alone."

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

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