A partnership to create mental wealth in Auckland rugby league clubs
Since February, the Vodafone Warriors Wellbeing team (Jerome Ropati, Ben Henry and myself) have partnered with Le Va to deliver the Mental Wealth Project across the Auckland area to the members of the Auckland Rugby League (ARL) clubs.
As a professional sporting club that competes within the NRL competition, it is a fantastic opportunity for us, the Warriors, to join forces with an esteemed public health organisation such as LeVa. Delivering the Mental Wealth workshops is not only fulfilling work but knowing it is reaching the league community, one rugby league club at a time makes it more meaningful.
This is ‘new ground’ for the Warriors staff who are trained to work with professional athletes around the demands placed them, despite wellbeing always being viewed as an important part of preparing players for life as professional athletes. There is comfort in knowing the team from Le Va are well versed in the public discourse on mental health and wellbeing.
The Mental Wealth programme has reached almost 500 members across 17 rugby league clubs. The geography covered and demographic keen to engage has been significant. We have been hosted at workshops as deep south as Papakura and as far north as the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. From the Howick Hornets in the eastern suburbs to the Glenora Bears out in Glen Eden.
The uptake from the clubs has been extremely positive and the overwhelming feedback is that there is a need for more workshops to address the myriad of social challenges that come through the club doors. A vast majority of ARL club staff are volunteers, and many have expressed that the Mental Wealth workshop is a valued and welcomed resource for many. Some clubs have seen ongoing benefits from the workshops such as boosting club interaction across the teams and staff creating a club environment that reflects care and a sense of connectedness as a community.
A special thank you to senior Warriors players such as Leeson Ah Mau, Leivaha Pulu and Agnatius Paasi who assisted in delivering Mental Wealth workshops in their junior clubs. This is in line with the overall NRL mandate of ensuring a multi-level approach to player wellbeing to ensure all people are able to be better for being part of the game.
The Vodafone Warriors look forward to the ongoing partnership with Le Va to deliver these programmes within the rugby league community. We thank and appreciate the trail blazing work they do in the health sector not just for Pasifika but the community at large.