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The delivery is being made possible by a grant from the men’s health charity Movember’s ‘Scaling What Works’ initiative, which aims to supercharge mental health programmes that have shown real promise in improving mental health and wellbeing for young boys and men, across community or workplace settings.
Since its launch in 2017, Offload has made a positive difference to the mental wellbeing of over 30,000 people and been hailed as an example of best practice for community mental health programmes.
Offload sessions are delivered by former and current professional Rugby League players with lived experience of low level mental health conditions. This makes the programme content more relatable to men.
RL Cares Health Project Manager Wendy Barr said: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver Offload ‘fixtures’ to men working in an industry which experiences disproportionately high levels of mental health issues.
“Offload has already helped hundreds of men who work in construction to manage their mental fitness and build the coping mechanisms to become, and stay happier and healthier.
“This funding from Movember will enable us to further break down the stigmas around mental wellbeing by given construction workers access to all the benefits that Offload brings.”
A published analysis of ONS data in September 2021 showed that for every 100,000 construction workers, 30 died by suicide. This is significantly higher than any other industry, and almost double the national male suicide rate of 15.4 deaths per 100,000.
One third of all workers who are self-employed or work for a small firm live with elevated anxiety levels. Unskilled and low-paid workers have a suicide rate of 73 suicides per 100,000; the rate for non-manual colleagues is less than five per 100,000.
Offload is one of eight mental health initiatives across the UK that have been awarded grants of between £205,000 and £400,000 from Movember over the next two years.
Owen Brigstock-Barron, Movember’s Director of Community and Workplace Programs, said, “It’s great to see such a diverse range of mental health initiatives represented in Scaling What Works. Established initiatives will target boys and men from culturally diverse backgrounds, GBTQ+ communities, Indigenous communities, and those living in socially disadvantaged areas.
“Scaling evidence-based initiatives allows us to have an immediate impact on those most at risk, breaking down barriers and enabling boys and men to get the support they need at the earliest possible stage. It’s really exciting to think about the instant impact these programmes will have in local communities.”
Movember is a charity that believes in the connective power of community, having funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world since 2003. It’s an organisation that has transformed the way services reach young boys and men, with support programs that are accessed by millions of people around the world, helping men live happier, healthier, and longer lives.
The award builds on the successful partnership between Movember and RL Cares, who have been delivering the Movember Ahead of the Game programme to thousands of young players, coaches, volunteers and parents as part of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 Mental Fitness Charter.