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True Blue and NSWRL Mental Fitness Program Manager Paul Langmack is encouraging more volunteers at Junior Rugby League Clubs across the state to take advantage of a free suicide prevention program available thanks to an initiative by the NSW Government.

Already more than 300 Junior Rugby League volunteers have completed the ‘LivingWorks safeTalk’ suicide prevention skills workshop after the NSWRL and the NSW Government teamed up last year to coordinate the delivery to junior clubs.

The Living Works initiative, fully funded by NSW Health, is also being rolled out in NSW high schools for teachers, wellbeing leaders, parents and senior students (aged 15 and above).

True Blue Paul Langmack is helping NSW Health gain access to Junior Rugby League Clubs, with Milperra Colts JRLFC, Minto Cobras JRLFC and Greta Branxton RLFC already hosting sessions, and Emu Plains and Appin junior clubs booked in.

The ‘LivingWorks safeTalk’ suicide prevention program is designed to take the burden off the individual by creating a network of safety for those in various forms of distress.

Langmack is also taking the program to other non-sport associations like the Kingsgrove Community Aid Centre in southern Sydney later this month.

Langmack also runs the ‘Changing Rooms’ program where he and social workers speak to children aged between 11 and 18 years about issues including bullying, social media, family and team relationships.

“Changing Rooms is half-an-hour where we talk about making ourselves mentally fit because footy helps us be physically fit,” Langmack said.

“The LivingWorks sessions are three hours in length and have a lot more components to them.

“We want parents, volunteers, managers, trainers, senior players – anyone involved with a club – to do the course and be able to identify anyone who may be suicidal.

“This course is tailored to help us try to prevent so many suicides happening to our young people. The rates are way too high.

“We have qualified social workers and counsellors delivering the messages.

“The more adults we can get to come to the sessions the better as that means we have more people able to notice and recognise the signs that one of the kids is struggling.”

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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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