Focus on sport and mental health
Saturday, 6th March, 2021
By Myles Burt
NRL top try-scorer for three years in a row, Nathan Blacklock will be travelling around the Far West for rugby and mental health.
Creative Community Concepts are holding three Mental Wellbeing Sports Nights in Broken Hill, Wilcannia and Menindee.
The programs have been held over the past five years focusing on mental health through rugby league in order to gain more community involvement.
CCC have partnered up with the Black Dog Institute, NSW Office of Sport, Mission Australia and other mental wellbeing services to deliver a program not only suited to rugby league clubs but also to the wider community.
CCC General manager Kyle Myers said having former St George Illawarra Dragon NRL player Nathan Blacklock attending the rugby training and development sessions will be a great draw card for the event.
“Really well respected and has good, strong indigenous beliefs and loves sharing his culture,” Mr Myers said.
“So he’s going to be certainly an asset out in those communities as well.”
Mr Myers said the events are open to all members of the community with each town having a Colour Run and a free-give away from Malo Republic.
The event will then lead into a talk with Wayne Wigham from the Black Dog Institute and then a club training with Nathan Blacklock.
Mr Myers said the mental health talks will be centred on gratitude, mindfulness, having a sense of purpose and other topics.
Mr Myers said the mixture of mental health talks and rugby league helps get people to open up and also break down the stigma around mental health.
“It’s fun, it’s engaging and then people can open up and ask questions a lot more,” Mr Myers said.
Mr Myers said Far West rugby league clubs such as Parntu Warriors, Wilcannia Boomerangs, Menindee Yabbies and Silver City Scorpions are all on board and eager for the event.
Mr Myers said they’ll have services on the ground available to attendees such as the RFDS, Mission Australia, the Drug and Alcohol team and Mental Wellbeing team from NSW Health as well.
“Obviously Wayne’s from Sydney so he’s not going to be the person that they go and speak to next week,” Mr Myers said.
“He’s going to give them good advice and some things that they can practise on to give them good mental health.
“But you want to have them services on the ground that people can always go and reach out to, it’s really important that they come along and support these events as well.”
Mr Myers said it’s great to have those services available especially as the stigma around mental health changed for the better. As people are much more accepting of those suffering from depression and other mental illness than in the past were individuals felt isolated.
“It’s really opened up for people to say ‘you know what it’s ok to not be ok’,” Mr Myers said.
“If you’ve got a best mate, a partner or a friend go and talk to them, go and open up and just have that person that you can talk to because you don’t want to suffer in silence, you don’t want to do it alone.
“There are so many people that can support and there’s so many good resources that can help you get better so you can live a happy and healthy life.”
Mr Myers is hoping that high schoolers and primary schoolers take up the opportunity to learn more about rugby league as they’ll be holding Rugby Gala Days especially for them.
Mr Myers said Nathan Blacklock will be attending the high school event, but not the primary school event due to time constraints.
However, Mr Myers said anyone is allowed to attend the Mental Health Sport Nights where they can see Nathan Blacklock.
Mr Myers hopes that the events may inspire some kids to pursue rugby league further, that one day the Far West could produce a talent for the NRL.
Especially with the training pathways available through the Far West Academy of Sport.
“There’s always a pathway there, we play against development trails in Newcastle or Penrith and stuff,” Mr Myers said.
“You could have a cracking game one day and one of the scouts might see you, there’s always opportunities there.”
OUTBACK BLITZ WEEK 2021
4pm: Colour Run and Malo Republic free give-aways.
6pm: Mental Health Wellbeing Sports Night with Black Dog Institute and Club Training with Nathan Blacklock.
WILCANNIA: Monday, March 8 at the Burke Oval.
BROKEN HILL: Tuesday, March 9 at the Lamb Oval.
MENINDEE: Wednesday, March 10 at Burke and Wills Park.
HIGH SCHOOL GALA DAY
When: Tuesday, March 9 at 9:30am.
Where: Lamb Oval, Broken Hill.
TAG GALA DAY
When: Friday, March 12 at 9am.
Where: Alma Oval, Broken Hill.