Tackling Mental Health with the NRL

Thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rugby league players and fans have received positive mental health messages and many more are likely to benefit, thanks to this week’s successful Festival of Indigenous Rugby League.

Page last updated: 12 February 2018

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10 February 2017

Thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rugby league players and fans have received positive mental health messages and many more are likely to benefit, thanks to this week’s successful Festival of Indigenous Rugby League.

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said the Turnbull Government was proud to partner with the NRL, contributing $300,000 to support the event in Sydney.

“Sport, in particular rugby league, plays an important role in many of our communities, connecting people and empowering them to make positive changes in their lives,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Team sports offer social connections, build personal relationships and a sense of belonging.

“Through the partnership at this festival, the good news on mental health is getting spread out to thousands of people here and through their friends, families and social networks across the many communities from which they have come.”

The festival has included a three-day youth summit focusing on mental health and resilience; a wellbeing and employment expo; and wellbeing workshops for every rugby league team, culminating in game day today, with up to 5,000 people attending to watch six teams in action.

Indigenous All Stars players including Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston, Dane Gagai, Wade Graham, Jack Wighton and Joel Thompson also attended the festival.

Minister Wyatt welcomed participants from across Queensland and New South Wales and thanked two Maori teams who travelled from New Zealand.

“I congratulate all the participants on a wonderful week of football and the NRL for its continuing commitment to our Indigenous communities,” Minister Wyatt said.

“This festival complements the NRL’s State of Mind programs, which focus on early intervention and reducing the stigma often associated with mental illness.”

For more information about the NRL programs, visit the NRL’s State of Mind programs webiste.

For more information about the Australian Government’s mental health and preventative health agenda visit the Department of Health's website.

Media contact: Nick Way, Media Adviser 0419 835 449

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