NRL’s grassroots program in Harden
The NRL’s community-focussed State Of Mind grassroots workshops took place in Harden last week.
NRL Ambassador and 10-year Canberra Raider Alan Tongue as well as former NRL player Clinton Toopi spent time with Murrumburrah Public School students as well as the junior and senior Harden Hawks teams as part of the program.
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.
The players talked about how to support one another through life’s stressful moments and how important it is to communicate with friends, family and teammates.
NRL Grants Development Officer, James Smart said the sporting body aims to not only maintain their connection with rural and regional communities through the program, but assist them too.
“Harden-Murrumburrah is a small town, but it’s important we get out to communities such as this,” Mr Smart said.
The aim of the grassroots program is to use the game’s reach, profile, clubs and players to reduce stigma around mental illness.
Mr Smart said it provides a connection with something well-known and played in country areas and connects it with health awareness.
“We try to relate our workshops with rugby league as comradeship, how it’s being there for each other both on the field and off,” he said.
“It encourages kids to think that it’s okay to ask that question and check in on others.”
As well as the opportunity to attend the workshop, the Hawks’ teams received a mental health action plan. The Hawks are now acknowledged as a NRL State of Mind Grassroots club.
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