• Dane Gagai (left) and Joel Thompson (AAP)Source: AAP
Two Indigenous NRL players have been named ambassadors of the NRL mental health program.
NITV Staff Writer

18 Dec 2015 - 10:17 AM  UPDATED 18 Dec 2015 - 10:27 AM

Newcastle Knights' Dane Gagai and St George Dragons forward Joel Thompson have been named NRL State of Mind ambassadors for 2016, along with 22 others players.

The NRL State of Mind program, wants to encourage players and their communities to seek support if they are experiencing rough times and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Indigenous All Stars NRL Match

The Indigenous All Stars NRL game is back for another year in Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium. One of Rugby League's biggest events it celebrates the impressive array of Indigenous NRL players and all profits raised are invested into Indigenous community programs. 

A grassroots version is set to roll out across junior clubs throughout 2016.

Indigenous people mental health has been recorded to be worse than non-Indigenous people. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had experienced very high levels of psychological distress at twice the rate than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

The ambassadors are self-nominated, because of their commitment to the cause, a media release says.

2016 NRL State of Mind ambassadors

Moses Mbye – Canterbury Bulldogs

Iosia Soliola – Canberra Raiders

Joseph Paulo – Cronulla Sharks

David Shillington – Gold Coast Titans

Dane Gagai – Newcastle Knights

Suaia Matagi – Penrith Panthers

James Segeyaro – Penrith Panthers

David Tyrrell – South Sydney Rabbitohs

Boyd Cordner – Sydney Roosters

Dale Finucane – Melbourne Storm

Jeff Robson – New Zealand Warriors

Matt Ballin – Wests Tigers

Ruan Sims – Australian Jillaroos

Samantha Hopkin – Touch Football Australia

2015 NRL State of Mind ambassadors – continuing in 2016

Darius Boyd – Brisbane Broncos

Sam Tagataese – Cronulla Sharks

Brenton Lawrence – Manly Warringah Sea-Eagles

Josh Starling – Manly Warringah Sea-Eagles

Tariq Sims – Newcastle Knights

Michael Morgan – North Queensland Cowboys

Luke Kelly – Parramatta Eels

Joel Thompson – St George Illawarra Dragons

John Palavi – New Zealand Warriors

Dene Halatau – Wests Tigers

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