Riley – State of Mind helps players open up

Wakefield winger Chris Riley feels that State of Mind has helped to open up players to the prospect of sharing their feelings and not keeping mental issues secret.

The range of issues which can affect young players is huge, and he believes that players need help with things which range from the pressure of fighting for a first-team place, to dealing with criticism on social media.

“The modern day in rugby league is different to how it used to be, say 20 years ago, where players were big macho men and kept their feelings to themselves,” he told State of Mind.

“Now there is a lot more opportunities to go out there and speak your mind.

“For State of Mind to come along and offer their services to players, will hopefully open more player up to be honest about how they’re feeling, and not be so macho at times and try and cover things up.

“I think it’s vitally important that, not only do the older generation of players speak out, but also the young people who are coming up, who have got to face all the things that players face.

“Things like getting in the team, the fame that comes along, the press – good and bad – and how people cope with aspects of that in their lives.

“A lot of people don’t really know how you feel. Things like social media, where people just get to say anything they want about you, can be hard to cope with.

“You don’t really know how people feel behind closed doors.

“So support networks are vital, when it comes to having someone to speak to, especially for young fellas, especially in our sport where you have to act macho on the field.”

Riley also encouraged any young players who are experiencing mental health issues to speak out and ask for help.

“Don’t keep things to yourself,” he urged.

“Be open enough to speak your mind to people, and take on board the help that people want to give you.”

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