The Liberal National government is investing $660,000 over three years into the National Rugby League’s (NRL) Indigenous All Stars, State of Mind program.
The initiative hopes to deliver mental health and resilience workshops to more than 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including Indigenous All Stars players, youth summit participants and 15 grassroots clubs with a high proportion of First Nations players.
Elite players are said to be made mental health advocacy leaders within their clubs and communities, encouraging help-seeking behaviours.
With rugby league the most popular participation sport in First Nations communities, the NRL will leverage the game’s reach, profile, clubs and players, to help remove the stigma around mental illness.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience high, or very high, psychological distress, at a rate 2.6 times higher than the rest of the nation.
The NRL developed State of Mind in partnership with Lifeline, Kids Helpline, headspace and the Black Dog Institute.
State of Mind was promoted during the Indigenous All Stars game on Friday, February 15, 2019 in Melbourne.
Mental health tools and resources, along with information about the program, is available on the NRL State of Mind website
The government funds a number digital mental health and suicide prevention services, which support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including:
- $34 million from 2017-19 for BeyondBlue, to provide information, resources and services on their website that support social and emotional wellbeing.
- $16.9 million from 2018-21 for MindSpot, for their free, national online clinic for the treatment of anxiety and depression.
- $6.4 million per year for headspace for their eheadspace program, which provides free, confidential and anonymous telephone and web-based support for young people aged 12 to 25 years with, or at risk of developing, mild-to-moderate mental illness.