Two Hastings Valley Vikings Rugby Union Club players, who are committed to looking after their mates, have been rewarded as part of a headspace Port Macquarie program.
Luke Banks and Jayden Huxley are the first two recipients under the sports sponsorship program.
Headspace has partnered with several local businesses to launch the Active Bodies, Healthy Minds Mid North Coast Program, which rewards players who look out for their friends and promote positive attitudes towards mental health.
The program works to connect with sporting clubs and increase awareness of the link between staying physically active and keeping a healthy mind.
The aim is to encourage positive discussions about mental health in a team environment.
The program, in the pilot phase, is beginning with the Hastings Valley Vikings Rugby Union Club with plans to expand to other clubs.
Luke and Jayden have been chosen by their coaches for their commitment to looking after their mates.
Jayden said it meant a lot to be a rewarded through the sports sponsorship program.
"I just feel like mental health among males among my age bracket is a really big deal," he said.
"It needs desperately to be addressed. I think through club sport that can be addressed well."
Jayden said he wanted all the boys and girls to know there was a support service out there in headspace and he could be an advocate.
The criteria for the package are not related to the recipients' physical talent or abilities on the field.
The young men, aged between 15 and 17, who have been selected are players who always look out for the wellbeing of others; support their friends when things are tough; promote a positive team environment and contribute to positive discussions about mental health.
The sponsorship package includes donations from headspace, Hastings Physio and Health, and SportsPower.
Hastings Valley Vikings Rugby Union Club president David Barnes says Luke and Jayden lead by example.
"Luke is able to see the team mate that needs support and goes out of his way to support them in any way he can," Mr Barnes said.
"He leads by example with his behaviour and caring nature, setting a standard which flows onto his team mates.
"Jayden gives everything he has in each game, showing leadership and great sportsmanship.
"He takes time to check on his mates, and creates an atmosphere that others want to be and play in."
Headspace community engagement officer Jules Jamieson said sporting clubs were crucial in the process of maintaining positive mental health for young men.
Headspace recognised a need to improve the relationship between mental health and young men seeking support.
"Unfortunately, young men only represent 30 per cent of young people accessing our mental health services which is below the national average," Mrs Jamieson said.
Headspace is working to bridge that gap.
Other sporting groups and businesses interested in being part of the sports sponsorship program should email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Bookmark our website
Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
You can support us with a subscription
Follow us on Twitter: @portmacnews
Follow us on Instagram: @portmacnews
Follow us on Google News