Former Rugby League stars Danny Sculthorpe and Phil Veivers visited Hopwood Hall College to raise awareness about mental health.
The former players, who have played at some of the biggest clubs in rugby league, held sessions over the course of two days with sports students at the college with the ‘State of Mind’ charity.
The charity’s aim is to raise awareness about recognising issues surrounding mental health, how best to cope if you or someone else is dealing with depression and how to spot signs of depression in yourself or others.
Danny Sculthorpe, who played for Wigan Warriors, Castleford Tigers and Huddersfield Giants among other clubs, described his appreciation for the students’ engagement with their sessions.
“The students have been really involved with the sessions which is great. The stigma around mental health is often the biggest stumbling block in regards to helping people, so to see these guys being so accepting and willing to learn more is really encouraging.
“I hope these sessions can help young people understand and discuss anxiety, depression, stress and the like more openly. I think it is one of the most under-discussed topics in regards to people’s health.”
The former players openly discussed their experiences with severe depression after severe injuries during their careers and big set-backs in their personal lives. Furthermore, the duo educated students on how depression and anxiety can affect individuals in everyday life without them realising; such as in coursework or other challenges such as learning to drive, social and home life.
Ross Finnerty, a Level 3 BTEC Sport student said: “The talk was really eye opening. It was good to meet Danny and Phil and hear their stories, it was a bit humbling how open they were with us. It’s a bit scary really to see how depression doesn’t discriminate and can get hold of anyone at any time. It’s important to be self-aware and aware of the needs of your friends too.”