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True Blue Paul Langmack will address more than 300 teenagers about mental fitness for the first time in regional NSW when he takes the NSWRL's ‘Changing Rooms’ program on the road to Griffith tomorrow.

Langmack has already spoken with 1400 girls and boys, aged from 11 years upwards, from Rugby League clubs across the Sydney metropolitan area on important social issues including bullying, anxiety and depression.

The program has proven such a success that the NSWRL has now secured state government funding through the NSW Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Sports Fund to take the face-to-face wellbeing initiative to regional areas across NSW.

“It’s not just a problem among adults,” Langmack said.

“Our kids are suffering too so we have frank discussions about how to recognise it and what they can do about it."

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Langmack’s first stop will be the NSW Riverina where he will speak to more than 300 Year Eight students in the Murrumbidgee Regional High School, which has two sites: Griffith in Coolah Street, and Wade in Poole Street.

He will also present each child with a NSWRL football and a flyer listing emails and phone numbers of organisations and associations that deal with mental fitness.

“We talk about mental fitness, bullying, suicide prevention, and addictions,” Langmack said.

“There is a high suicide rate in regional areas and unfortunately Griffith has been touched by that.

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“We need these kids to be aware of it and give them some indicators of what’s not normal behaviour so they can look out for their friends and family.

“Then they can reach out and say, ‘Are you okay?’ It’s preventative action. Sadly, there was a suicide of an 11-year-old in Orange recently. We all need to act.”

'Changing Rooms' is planning further one-day programs in September for the Kempsey area on the NSW Central Coast and the New England area in northern NSW.

Langmack, who is joined on the talks by trained social workers, is also mapping out further Rugby League clubs in Sydney after recent visits to Wenty Leagues, Greystanes Devils, Milperra Colts, Bankstown Bulls, Greenacre Tigers, Forrestville Hornets, Carlingford Cougars and Rouse Hill Rhinos.

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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