Huddersfield Giants have backed the Rugby League Cares Offload programme aimed at helping men with mental health issues. 

Offload allows men to engage with current and former rugby league players to learn the techniques clubs use to manage players’ mental and physical fitness. The project particularly helps people who are feeling depressed or anxious.  

Giants’ back row forward Kenny Edwards backed the project and said: “Coming out of some dark places myself I jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the programme.”

Giants Community Trust head of sport Dan Wilczynski added: “Being given the opportunity to deliver such an important project like Offload is magnificent for both the trust and the area of Kirklees. We are all extremely excited to see this programme start to help make a difference to men within our community.

“With Offload we have a really great opportunity to tackle mental fitness and make a positive change.”

Almost one in 10 men will suffer from depression at some point in their lives. Men account for 75% of suicides in the UK, the biggest cause of death for men under 50 and a leading cause of death in young men in England. Yet only 36% of people referred to psychological therapies in the UK are male.

Offload is delivered over the course of 10 weeks. In those 10 weeks men will go behind the scenes of their chosen team, meet and talk with current and former professional players to learn techniques that RL clubs use to manage mental as well as physical fitness of their players.

They will build up their own mental fitness, whilst having fun, in a relaxed atmosphere and develop coping strategies to tackle difficult situations and learn how to recognise when people close to them may need their support.

Offload sessions are available for men aged 16+ and are free to attend. The Huddersfield sessions will begin on Wednesday April 21 (6pm-7.30pm) at The Zone, St Andrews Road, Huddersfield, HD1 6PT.

Find out more about Offload here