State of Mind

Support for players facing depression

Last Updated: 21/07/11 11:50am

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Morley: State of Mind ambassador

Morley: State of Mind ambassador

Sky Bet

Boots 'n' All give their support behind a new initiative designed to make rugby league players more mindful of their mental health and general wellbeing.

"It is more important to have a sound mind than a sound body so you just see it as part of your training."
Adrian Morley Quotes of the week

The dazzling lights are addictive, as every sportsmen will tell you, but what happens when the lights go down and the crowds stop cheering?

Terry Newton was one of the games toughest competitors who gave his all for his team - but when his career came to an end, he struggled to come to terms with it and after suffering from depression he took his own life.

He is not alone and retirement from rugby league leaves a void that many find impossible to fill.

Now a group of mental health professionals have come together to create a support system to help players struggling through stressful times.

"We want to give proper and appropriate routes for players - as well as family and friends so that they can support them when they are feeling low," explained State of Mind programme manager Ernie Benbow.

"We want to get appropriate help so that they can go out and perform a much better than they would if they had mental issues."

No longer taboo

Round 27 of Super League will be dedicated to the State of Mind initiative and over the next few weeks clubs will hold sessions to help players recognise the signs of depression and how to find help and support.

"Depression is not a taboo subject anymore, said State of Mind ambassador Adrian Morley.

"It is more important to have a sound mind than a sound body so you just see it as part of your training.

"You need to be fit physically but you need to be fit mentally too. If people know there is help out there then they can feel a bit more relaxed and sort them out so we don't have further issues down the line."

Terry Newton's family welcome the State of Mind Initiative and hope it saves players falling into the deep depression that cost terry his life.

"In the past they had no one to turn to, said Terry's father Tony. "It is hard enough for anyone to admit they have depression, but a rugby player who has this big macho image - well who do they turn to?"

In the game of rugby league strength and courage are prize virtues while weakness will be exploited; however, asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a major step on the road to recovery.

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