Who are State of Mind and what do they do?

In a week that sees the 12 Betfred Super League clubs play a dedicated State of Mind round, here's a guide to a charity which continues to raise awareness of mental fitness across the sport and beyond:

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's aims?

  • The charity’s aims are to use the power of sport to raise awareness, promote mental fitness, wellbeing and resilience, tackle stigma, signpost to and enable access to timely support in order to prevent suicide.

Why is State of Mind needed?

  • Over 6,000 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;
  • Three 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 example, 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 others 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?

  • The charity’s 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;
  • The charity organises 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 Warrington Wolves and are involved in the exciting new ‘Ofload’ initiative, 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;
  • State of Mind 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;
  • The charity produces practical guidance on topics such as anxiety, depression, gambling, sleep and bereavement;
  • Organisation of ‘Bootrom’, a 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.

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