West Hartlepool rugby club faces up to depression

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A RUGBY club is to host a presentation to highlight support for mental health issues within sport.

West Hartlepool will stage a talk with the State of Mind organisation on Thursday, April 30 at their clubhouse in the town’s Catcote Road.

If you have a broken leg its physical, people can see it, but with mental health it’s not visible and at the time rugby was my pressure release.

Phill Jukes

The event has been the brainchild of former West, TDSOB and Rovers forward, Phill Jukes, who explained he has suffered from depression which stemmed from an accident.

“People think that when you play sport, are fit and are among all your friends that you don’t have a care in the world,” said the 39-year-old.

“But that’s not always the case.

“I’ve suffered some bad times myself and I think mental health issues are something which can be talked about openly and honestly.

“But with males it’s often brushed under the carpet and kept quiet.

“People don’t know what to say to you.

“If you have a broken leg its physical, people can see it, but with mental health it’s not visible and at the time rugby was my pressure release.

“The State of Mind was set up in 2011 to help improve the mental health, wellbeing and working life of rugby league players and their communities.

“They do free sessions not just for rugby league clubs but for amateur teams in all sports and community groups.

“It’s an important issue and it’s great State of Mind have agreed to come here.

“It’s at West but it’s not just for West - anyone can come along and I think it’s good for the town.”

The organisation was born following the death of Wigan and England star Terry Newton in 2010.

The England hooker had been given a two-year ban after testing positive for a human growth hormone and was found hanging in his home seven months later.

“State of Mind have been doing tremendous work throughout the country,” added Phill.

“Rugby League legend Adrian Morley is one of the ambassadors for the programme and they have great expertise and experience in their organisation.”

State of mind are bringing Danny Sculthorpe, an ex-Super League player, and another rugby figure, Mick Finnegan, who starred in Sky Sports School of Hard Knocks with Scott Quinell and Will Greenwood.

The event starts at 7.30pm at West rugby club on April 30. All are welcome.