This weekend marks the annual State of Mind round in rugby league, and the London Broncos, in conjunction with the LBSA, State of Mind, and CALM, are dedicating the round to John Sullivan, a former player at the Broncos, who sadly took his own life in 2014.
In doing so, the club hope not only to honour John’s memory, but to highlight the importance of acknowledging mental health issues within the game of rugby league.
Who are State of Mind?
A nationally recognised charity, created in 2011 by four healthcare professionals who are rugby league fans, following the tragic death of former Great Britain player, Terry Newton.
What are State of Mind aims?
Our aims are to use the power of sport to raise awareness, promote mental fitness, wellbe-ing and resilience, tackle stigma, signpost to and enable access to timely support in order to prevent suicide.
Why is State of Mind needed?
• Over 6000 people in the UK die by suicide each year
• Suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under the age of 45
• Incidents of suicide more often occur in localities where rugby league is played often within socio economic groups and deprived areas
• 3 children in every classroom will experience mental health problems by the age of 16 and half of adult mental health problems start before the age of 14.
• Depression, stress and anxiety are illnesses with various contributory causes, for ex-ample, personal problems breakdown of relationships, loss of job or work issues. The worst thing that people can do is bottle up their emotions to a level where it leads to suicidal thoughts
• State of Mind sport encourages and enables people to “LET IT OUT” and talk to oth-ers to get a handle on their problems and their lives back on track
• We know that if we can reach vulnerable people early in their illness we can often provide compassionate support, an alternative perspective, reasons for living and hope
What does State of Mind do?
• Our unique team of elite sportsmen and health care professionals deliver talks to Super League and Community clubs, Schools and Colleges, Universities, prisons, Health Care staff and in a wide range of work places – over 25,000 have received training
• We organise an annual themed campaign in partnership with the Rugby Football League and Rugby League Cares to raise the awareness of important health and wellbeing related issues. One round of fixtures is dedicated to State of Mind Sport. Last year’s theme was Change and Adversity. This year’s theme is loss.
• We are in partnership with RL Cares, Salford Red Devils, Widnes Vikings and War-rington Wolves. We are piloting a new initiative “OFFLOAD”, a 10 week programme where local men can team up with current and past players, building their mental fitness and learning to cope with life’s pressures, focusing on topics such as stress management, mindfulness, goal setting and physical activity to enable the building of a winning mind set.
• We are organising a Time to Move weekend walk initiative, encouraging people to participate in physical activities and become aware of the benefits of exercise on mental fitness
• We are producing practical guidance on topics such as anxiety, depression, gam-bling, sleep and bereavement.
• We organised a “BOOTROOM” project involving the showing of classic rugby league films with players attending, aimed at vulnerable, isolated men in a socio-economically deprived area of Warrington. This was featured in a BBC Panorama programme as an innovative example of reaching out to vulnerable men.