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Wigan's Jarrod Sammut opens up on brother's suicide in mental health campaign

Wigan's Jarrod Sammut opens up on brother's suicide in mental health campaign
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Sammut was speaking at Headingley ahead of the Wellbeing round of Super League matches on Thursday and Friday.

Wigan half-back Jarrod Sammut has opened up about the suicide of his younger brother as part of Super League's mental health campaign.

The 32-year-old Australian, who has spent the last nine years in England, was speaking at Headingley ahead of the Wellbeing round of Betfred Super League matches on Thursday and Friday.

In partnership with several leading charities, the Tackle the Tough Stuff campaign is designed to highlight the issue of men's mental health following the revelations that men are three times as likely to die from suicide as women and that, on average, 84 men take their lives every week.

Three years after his brother Daniel took his own life at the age of 27, Sammut says he is still affected by the tragedy but says talking about the subject helps him come to terms with his grief.

"It was quite difficult at first," Sammut told PA. "It was a bit of a shock.

"I wasn't quite sure on what to think or how to take it. I was probably a bit quiet at first. But, once it all sunk in, I just felt helpless, like I wasn't around my family in the time of need.

"I was quite lucky in the sense that I had a support base of family and friends around me over here, but I was still part of the stigma where I bottled my issues up and didn't speak about them, which didn't help the matter.

Jarrod Sammut's (right)
Jarrod Sammut's (right) brother Daniel took his own life at the age of 27 three years ago (Anthony Devlin/PA)

"Everyone at home was struggling and even now, it's something I think about quite often. I've got a regret of not going home after it.

"Without being in that position, I wouldn't have learned or spoke about the dark times, the effects of mental health and what it does to those around you as well.

"While it's quite a negative and tragic event that's taken place, there are some positives that have come from that, as little as they may seen.

"But speaking about that and trying to educate our society, if this makes a difference to just one person, we've reached some sort of level of success and we have made a difference."

Keegan Hirst (Wakefield), Brad Dwyer (Leeds) and Josh Griffin (Hull) were also at the launch of the campaign, which is supported by Movember, State of Mind, Rugby League Cares and Community Integrated Care.

Sammut added: "There's a really big stigma around men not opening up or showing emotion really.

"So I think if players like myself can speak about the dark times or a troubling past, it might help and encourage other people who are going through difficult times to open up and speak about their troubles.

"If we're going to make a change or make a difference, it starts with us."

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