Willagee Bears help improve the community’s State of Mind through NRL program

Willagee Bears Rugby League Club president Steve Bannister and State of Mind program deliverer Clinton Toopi are pleased that the program has completed the program.
Willagee Bears Rugby League Club president Steve Bannister and State of Mind program deliverer Clinton Toopi are pleased that the program has completed the program.

WILLAGEE Bears Rugby League Club are the first WA club to complete the NRL’s State of Mind program, which encourages awareness about mental health.

The program gives rugby clubs the resources to raise awareness on mental health, increase social support for young people and families and references to local support services such as the Kids Helpline, Headspace, the Black Dog Institute and Lifeline.

The club’s achievements will be recognised during a morning tea on Saturday, July 7, during which former NRL player and State of Mind program deliverer Clinton Toopi will be present.

Club State of Mind program facilitator Jodie Barrett-Brown Smith said following a presentation from Toopi earlier this year, the club began implementing the program.

“He discussed the aims in reducing the stigma about mental health,” she said.

“The club has done a few things to help such as creating a State of Mind team, wellness pamphlets, assisting players with health issues about where they can find help.”

NRL health and projects community manager Neesha Eckersley said she hoped the program would create mentally healthy communities.

“For us its about introducing the concepts of mental health for grassroots clubs and reducing the stigma,” she said.

“It’s exciting to have the first club in WA as a State of Mind-recognised club and there has been some really keen personnel here.”

Toopi said the club was a benchmark for clubs in WA in terms of its progress in the mental health space.

“Their proactive approach is leading the way and it’s very exciting,” he said.

The grassroots program was boosted last year when the State Government gave the NRL a $100,000 grant.