Participants of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England will receive vital mental health education as part of a groundbreaking Mental Fitness Charter.
In becoming the first major international sporting event to launch such a program, the RLWC2021 has vowed to teach every player, official and volunteer how to maintain their mental fitness and that of those around them by the end of the World Cup.
The tournament is also committed to delivering mental fitness workshops to 8,000 young rugby league players and their families. Grassroots coaches will be trained so they can lead the workshops after the World Cup has finished.
Prince Harry – patron of the Rugby Football League, who will conduct the tournament's live draw from Buckingham Palace on Thursday (11pm AEST) – said he was proud to support the initiative.
"Rugby league isn't just a sport, it's a community. And one that takes care of its own," the Duke of Sussex said in a video recorded for the five-point charter's launch.
"For many years, it has been at the forefront of promoting and supporting good mental fitness, working hard to build a positive mindset for everyone involved in the sport.
"This charter will build on the brilliant work already happening in rugby league by committing to training and educating all those involved in the tournament – and the wider rugby league family – not only in how they can look after their own mental fitness but also support others to do the same."
Jon Dutton, chief executive of the RLWC2021, said the tournament was "determined to make a real impact with people both inside and outside of rugby league" in regards to mental health.
"We want to use the platform we have within sport to help highlight the importance of taking care of both your mental and physical health," Dutton said.
"We're certain of having world-class action on the pitch during the tournament and with millions of viewers tuned in from around the globe, our mental fitness campaign will create a lasting impact across the globe in helping rugby league communities get ahead of the game."
The 2021 World Cup – to be held between October 23 and November 27 across 21 venues in England – will feature men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments being played under the same banner.