Bond University Rugby Club is beating the blues by wearing blue.
Half a dozen members don sky-coloured jerseys on game days and at training to identify themselves as Mental Health First Aid Officers.
They gained their qualifications under the guidance of a psychologist over a two-day online course held by the White Cloud foundation, which has partnered with the Queensland Rugby Union.
“Some of our players have already approached us to ask for advice since we brought in the blue shirts a few months ago,” said first grade assistant coach Andrew Fraser.
“The officers are available to anyone around the club, whether they be a board member or a spectator or potentially someone else in the rugby community who might need help.
“They can come and speak to us in confidence.”
The six Bull Sharks staff who are currently part of the program range from Director of Rugby Luca Liussi to former Reds and Brumbies player turned third grade assistant coach and Stan Sport commentator Jeremy Austin.
The concept has become so popular at Bond, the club will soon host a face-to-face course on campus. Twelve members have already signed up for the upcoming session including five women.
“There is a growing audience who want to help others out,” Fraser said.
“This is all about continuing to end the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety and telling people it is perfectly normal to lean on others when you’re feeling vulnerable.
“We’re getting lots of engagement with our male players and our female players as well.”
The program will also be rolled out across the Gold Coast District Rugby Union.
The Bull Sharks received a much-needed boost last weekend, posting a 46-10 win over Norths Eagles to make amends for their five-point loss to Wests Bulldogs.
TSS graduate and Bond Bachelor of Psychology student Hamish Roberts starred on debut, showcasing his impressive speed and big right step to score his first try in premier grade.
The winning ways will need to continue for the Bull Sharks who still sit outside the top four, with four rounds remaining until finals. Bond will be favourites when they hit the road this weekend to battle Souths Magpies.
Club veteran Nick Turner will record 200 caps on Saturday when he runs out for the reserves. The Bull Sharks will host a special celebration for the workhorse when they host the University of Queensland in the ‘Battle of the Nerds’ next weekend.