Sydney Roosters prop Sam Moa says the NRL's moves to shed more light on mental health issues through its State of Mind campaign is particularly important to Polynesian players, who can experience unique pressures in their NRL journeys.
While not in any way dismissing the importance of the campaign for all players and society in general, Moa said as a Pacific Islander he can understand why players of Polynesian background can find the pressure hard to deal with when looking to break into the NRL.
There are unique circumstances, such as moving away from large families in remote areas on islands where entire communities have very little money, and feeling pressure to become a breadwinner for an entire family, that are particular to Pacific Island-born players, he said.
"It's extremely important in our game, and even in society. So the more support the NRL can provide for players, and not just players but their partners and people involved in the club, is great. Moving forward it's going to be great in the game and for the people involved," Moa said.
"I can certainly relate, being a Pacific Islander myself. A lot of the pressures that a lot of the kids are putting themselves through, there's so much to it.
He said there had been "an alarming trend" of players from Polynesian backgrounds experiencing difficulties in recent years.
"And the more awareness we can have out in the public and the more help we can get from the NRL – they've done a great job over the last few years in trying to work on that – hopefully we can get down to what the real problem is. Hopefully we can move forward and work through it," he said.
Moa said that there can be even more pressure on Pacific Islanders to make a success of themselves in footy.
"There's so much to it. You've got the pressure of providing not only for yourself but your family, brothers and sisters.
"You generally come from an upbringing where money wasn't really around. So any chance you get to make a bit of money you feel the pressure of supporting the whole family.
"It takes a lot of support and a lot of people to realise what goes on. And even from some of the parents to realise the pressure that they're putting on the kids themselves."
For more information visit nrlstateofmind.com.au
This article first appeared on NRL.com