Tackling stigma through sport
State of Mind Sport (SOMS) was established in 2010, following the death of Terry Newton, a popular international rugby league player. Terry took his own life not long after being banned from the sport for testing positive for banned substances.
SOMS was set up by experienced NHS staff who all had a passion for rugby league. They were keen to prevent similar incidents, but were uncertain as to how best to make an impact. They were joined by two former team mates of Terry Newton, who following retirement from playing the game had become Sky TV commentators. Crucially, they brought player perspectives and important contacts in the sport and media, and gave SOMS some valuable credibility.
This resulted in the recruitment of top professional players as SOMS ambassadors, who gave media interviews about the programme, and featured in films designed to promote awareness of mental...
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