Wests Tigers NRL club has called on fans to wear blue this Sunday and help smash the stigma around mental health as they take on the Gold Coast Titans in their match supporting Beyond Blue.
This year, Wests Tigers is working with junior teams – players, coaches and volunteers – to highlight the vital role that good mental health plays in sport.
Wests Tigers key players including Kevin Naiqama and Matt Esenhuth are working with the club’s rising stars on fitness and skills, but also ensuring young players understand how to stay mentally healthy and that it’s okay to ask for support if they’re struggling.
In 2013 the club was affected by suicide with the death of promising young forward Mosese Fotuaika and has since invested to ensure players and staff have access to mental health support.
Wests Tigers spokesperson Shaun Spence said good mental health was a key priority across the club, including for the young stars coming up through the ranks.
“Our club has been through some really difficult times and we know from experience how important it is to put your hand up early and get support when you need it,” Mr Spence said.
“Asking for help is often the hardest part, but it shouldn’t be and that’s why we’re getting our juniors thinking and talking about mental health early.
“We want kids to know it’s okay to talk to someone if they’re not coping and to ask for help.
“And like physical injuries, the earlier they get support the sooner they can get back on the ground and feeling their best. Talking about mental health is a game-changer.”
Through its partnership with Beyond Blue, the club has put mental health in the spotlight among NRL fans through the annual Beyond Blue game.
This year, Wests Tigers have called on fans to wear blue to Sunday’s game and to start a conversation in their own sports clubs, with their mates or their family, about mental health.
Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman applauded the Wests Tigers for taking such a proactive step to foster good mental health across the club and among young players and fans.
“What better way to get young players talking about mental health than through a conversation with their sporting heroes,” Ms Harman said.
“These professional players are showing kids that asking for support is not a sign of weakness, in fact it’s the opposite – it shows real strength.
“Beyond Blue is proud to partner with Wests Tigers for Sunday’s game.”
Beyond Blue is Wests Tigers’ charity partner for this Sunday’s game at Leichhardt Oval, with kick off at 2pm.