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Funding boost helping State of Mind program kick goals

The NRL's State of Mind program has received a $280,000 investment from the NSW Government that will benefit more rugby league clubs and schools across the state.

Established in 2015, the national program delivers workshops and resources to community clubs and schools with the aim of abolishing the stigma around mental illness and encouraging people to seek help.

With former NRL stars Alan Tongue, Clinton Toopi and Preston Campbell presenting the wellbeing initiative, State of Mind has delivered 439 workshops around Australia. The latest funding will allow the program to ramp up its efforts in all corners of NSW.

"There will be 60 mental health workshops held around the state for primary school students, high school students and adults delivered at both schools and local footy clubs," NSW deputy premier John Barilaro said.

"The workshops are age-appropriate and are an important way of getting the message out that it’s OK to talk about mental health and seek help if need be.

"The program connects rugby league communities, including participants, fans and volunteers with mental health partners and local service providers."

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the game "has a strong commitment to using the power of rugby league across communities and the profile of NRL players to make a positive social impact".

"Improving the mental wellbeing of our players, volunteers and administrators is a priority and with the support of the NSW Government thousands of additional people in our communities will be able to benefit from the State of Mind program," Abdo added.

Clinton Toopi delivering the State of Mind program.
Clinton Toopi delivering the State of Mind program. ©NRL Photos

"The State of Mind program is aimed at providing a toolkit for people of all ages to monitor and manage their overall wellbeing and to look for the early indicators that they or someone else needs support."

Bronnie Taylor, Minister for Mental Health and Regional Youth, praised the wide-reaching impact of the State of Mind program.

"We're building a safer, stronger regional NSW and the State of Mind program is a fantastic way to reach people from Muswellbrook to Merimbula," Taylor said.

"Rugby league clubs are often at the heart of the community and getting young people talking about their mental health and wellbeing is a brilliant way to spread the word.

"There are also face-to-face sessions to improve mental health literacy as well as resources for clubs to educate players and fans of all ages."