Ratchford on State of Mind
Warrington star, Stefan Ratchford believes the State of Mind campaign is more important than ever before in the aftermath of two high-profile mental health cases in the sport.
Wolves teammate, Paul Wood recently admitted he had thoughts about ending his life after spiralling into depression, a condition Martin Gleeson also experienced after being banned from the game.
"It's obviously something that's very topical and something that we need to talk about," Ratchford said.
"Those two cases went really high profile which is a reminder of how much of an issue it is.
"They are two blokes that if you'd see them day to day, you wouldn't think there was a thing wrong with them.
"It's obviously not been that way and even when it looks fine and dandy, something can tip them into unwanted situations.
"I know them both well and I wasn't aware. People within the game won't necessarily notice as there's a whole different life off the field.
"Thankfully, the help that both of them can get now is fantastic. They're both fantastic blokes who I'm delighted to know and I want them to see them both get back to their best."
Ratchford is also pleased that State of Mind are targeting the next generation of players whilst stereotypically, they aren't considered to be at risk.
"You would probably tend to find depression in players coming to an end of their career because they may not have plans for life after rugby," he added.
"But I think it's something that young players equally need to know about because the effects can be massive.
"Through playing rugby, you could suddenly end up with a bit of money that you've never had before and that can sometimes be detrimental if a player has come from a difficult background.
"The sooner you can learn about it, the better. It's good to see State of Mind starting to meet with academy players so it can get drilled into them from an early age.
"I think the more people that are made aware, the better it will be for the game."
Now in its third year, State of Mind explores and promotes initiatives relating to suicide prevention by targeting groups to deliver a range of awareness raising options focusing on mental fitness and resilience.
Almost 1000 players, coaches and support staff from Super League and the Championships, the three professional leagues in this country, have attended State of Mind sessions, with 95% of those attending never having had mental health training before.
Sessions continue to be run at Super League clubs in particular focusing on mental fitness to ensure people can manage the ups and downs of life effectively and encourage people to access support if it is needed.
More information can be found on the website www.stateofmindrugby.com or on Twitter @SOMRugbyLeague.
14, Aug, 2013