30th March 2017, 20:35 | therfl

State of Mind visit Parliament

State of Mind visit Parliament

The All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group welcomed representatives of State of Mind to the Palace of Westminster on 28 March. 

Representatives of State of Mind made a presentation in Parliament to Peers, MPs and associate members on the work being done by the organisation to raise awareness of the issues surrounding mental health. 

Attending from State of Mind were Chair Malcolm Rae OBE, along with co-founder Dr Phil Cooper and trustee Dr Allan Johnstone. Former players Jimmy Gittins, Danny Sculthorpe and Brian Carney all also shared their experiences. 

State of Mind was established in 2011 with the aim of improving the mental health, wellbeing and working life of rugby league players and communities. A team of mental health and sports professionals deliver comprehensive education sessions at no cost throughout the United Kingdom, aimed at raising awareness of mental health issues with sport. 

Speaking after the meeting, Chair of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group and Member of Parliament for Leeds North West, Greg Mulholland MP, said “State of Mind is a fantastic campaign which raises the profile of mental health issues among rugby league players and communities across the United Kingdom. Since it was established, the campaign has helped tackle the stigma that is often attached to mental health issues, as well as signposting individuals to support, to make it easier for people to get the right help.

“Addressing mental health issues is vitally important in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the nation, and I am delighted that State of Mind and rugby league have led the way in harnessing the power of sport to promote positive mental health and wellbeing. Our thanks go to all of the team for their presentation to the Group, but particularly to Jimmy and Danny for sharing their experiences, which was hugely moving but very inspirational, and to Brian for his powerful speech.”

State of Mind Chair, Malcolm Rae OBE, said; “Athletes in all sports are susceptible to mental health issues just like other people. State of Mind seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues, challenge stigma and misplaced perceptions, and help to tackle problems amongst players, coaches and supporters at the earliest possible stage.

“Since 2011, we have delivered sessions to over 22,000 rugby league players, coaches, fans and volunteers across the United Kingdom, whilst our player ambassadors have allowed us to reach millions more with health messages through social media. The State of Mind round of fixtures is the only initiative of its kind in the UK, and also allows mental fitness messages to reach viewers across the country. We hope to continue to build awareness, whilst also developing our clinical support, signposting and responding to individuals who require help.”

Ralph Rimmer, Chief Operating Officer of the Rugby Football League represented the NGB and clubs. He said; “We are proud supporters of State of Mind and its important campaigning work. Rugby League Foundations in particular are at the forefront of delivering inspirational mental health projects in our communities, and we will be working with them, the Parliamentary Group and State of Mind to spread the word about all this outstanding work which changes lives.”