04 September 2023

Suicide prevention training will be provided for up to 700 Rugby League clubs across the state as part of a plan to give people essential skills to have a conversation about suicide.

Minister for Mental Health, Rose Jackson said the suicide prevention skills training funded by the NSW Government will be delivered by LivingWorks in partnership with the NSW Rugby League to help keep more young people safe.

Ms Jackson made the announcement at the Grand Final games of the Sydney Shield (St Marys Saints v Hills Bulls) and Ron Massey Cup (St Marys Saints v Wentworthville Magpies) in Kogarah.

“Suicide prevention is everyone’s business and ensuring as many people as possible have access to core skills which can help support someone during one of their most vulnerable moments is critical to saving lives,” Ms Jackson said.

“Suicide is a complex issue and ensuring people have the tools they need to tackle these complexities when it is needed most can change the course of someone’s life.

“This training, run by Australia’s leading suicide prevention skills training organisation LivingWorks, is open to entire club communities to wrap essential support around young people to keep them safe.”

Ms Jackson said the training is also being delivered to teachers and schools, parents and carers and NSW Police through the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Mental Health Recovery package.

Minister for Sport Steve Kamper highlighted the importance of utilising existing community connections to deliver this important program.

“Sports bring communities together right across the state, so it presents the perfect opportunity for people to learn skills to prevent suicides.

“Sport is much more than what happens on the field. Sporting clubs are the backbone of communities across the state and have the direct line needed to deliver important mental health programs, at a grassroots level.”

LivingWorks Australia CEO Shayne Connell said the right course is available for everyone aged over 16 years, with sessions available 90 minutes online or a half-day in-person.

“Sporting communities are renowned for their camaraderie and collective spirit to support one another. What better community to receive this training and extra confidence boost to know how to have the all-important conversation about suicide,” Mr Connell said.

“The training will help people recognise when someone is having thoughts of suicide, engage with that person, and connect them to further help, such as a club wellbeing leader or a community mental health provider.”

NSW Rugby League Mental Fitness and Wellbeing Manager, former NRL coach and premiership-winning player, Paul Langmack will oversee the training rollout to clubs and believes the Rugby League presents a unique opportunity to support this.

“Youth suicide is a big problem in society and LivingWorks offers a unique preventative program fully funded by NSW Health,” Mr Langmack said.

“We have an incredible opportunity to use Rugby League as a vehicle to amplify the important work being done by LivingWorks and the NSW Government.

“We plan to take the program to Rugby League clubs all over NSW, especially in regional areas which are more isolated and have to deal with this issue far too often.”

If you, or someone you know, is in a life-threatening situation please seek help immediately by calling 000. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis or distress, please call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. The NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 is a 24/7 service that can advise you on appropriate local mental health services for you or a loved one.

Please note: NSW Health reminds journalists of their responsibilities when communicating about suicide, as per the guidelines available via Mindframe.