Merrin champions mental health

Panthers forward Trent Merrin is proud to be an ambassador for the NRL State of Mind program.

He is one of 13 new ambassadors to join the program in 2017, including leading NRL referees Ben Cummins and Matt Cecchin.

The NRL's State of Mind program is now in its third year and aims to:

- increase mental health literacy amongst clubs and communities, from grassroots to the elite level

- stimulate help seeking behaviours

- reduce stigmas around mental illness and suicide

- develop elite players and officials to be advocates of positive mental health

The program is backed by expert health partners Kids Helpline, The Black Dog Institute, headspace, Lifeline and New Zealand based organisation, LeVa.

The NRL and State of Mind ambassadors and expert partners have already committed to delivering education and awareness programs to more than 130 grassroots clubs across Australia and New Zealand, with additional club visits planned.

RLPA CEO Ian Prendergast applauded additional voices within the game to support players and communities.

"Mental health and wellbeing is a significant part of our game and the NRL State of Mind program provides support across all levels of rugby league," Mr Prendergast said.

"It is positive to see more and more players and now referees involved in a movement to look out for one another, as well as family and friends, and seek help at any time."

All NRL State of Mind ambassadors receive ongoing support and training, including undertaking a Mental Health First Aid Certificate.

For further information on the NRL State of Mind program, head to nrlstateofmind.com.au