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Andrew Johns brought to tears while giving inspirational speech to indigenous school students

Rugby league legend Andrew Johns has shared a touching tribute after he gave an inspirational and tear-filled speech to a group of high school students.

Johns spoke to Year 10 students at South Grafton High School on the New South Wales south coast about his personal struggles with bi-polar disorder and depression.

The heartfelt chat brought both the students and the NRL champion himself to tears. 

Johns’ battle with crippling mental illness has been well documented. He previously said he deals daily with depression and will take medication for the rest of his life.

After he was caught with an ecstasy tablet outside a tube station in London in 2007, Johns revealed he had considered taking his own life more than once.

Rugby league legend Andrew Johns has shared a touching tribute after he gave an inspirational and tear-filled speech to a group of high school students

On Wednesday, Johns shared a photo to Instagram of painted fins gifted to him following his visit

On Wednesday, Johns shared a photo to Instagram of painted fins gifted to him following his visit

On Wednesday, Johns shared a photo to Instagram of painted surfboard fins gifted to him by the students following his visit.

His trip to the school came after a chance encounter with Garry Matthews, who works with Aboriginal children in his role as chief executive officer of Abcare.

The pair met on a flight to Melbourne, where Johns was to work as part of the broadcast team during Channel Nine’s coverage of the first State of Origin game in July.

Johns agreed to speak to the students at South Grafton High School, saying his meeting with Mr Matthews was a ‘sign’ that allowed him to open up about his mental health. 

The heartfelt chat brought both the students and the NRL legend himself to tears

The heartfelt chat brought both the students and the NRL legend himself to tears

Mr Martin later posted a message of appreciation to Johns on Instagram

Mr Martin later posted a message of appreciation to Johns on Instagram

Johns agreed to speak to the students at South Grafton High School, saying his meeting with Mr Matthews was a 'sign' that allowed him to open up about his mental health

Johns agreed to speak to the students at South Grafton High School, saying his meeting with Mr Matthews was a ‘sign’ that allowed him to open up about his mental health

Teacher Nathan Martin said Johns spoke about his childhood and playing career with the Newcastle Knights.

‘Not only were many students brought to tears, but Joey (Johns) himself teared up talking about, and obviously reliving, his journey with mental health,’ Mr Martin told the Daily Examiner.

Mr Martin later posted a message of appreciation to Johns on Instagram.

‘On behalf of the students and staff at South Grafton High School I would like to say a huge thank you for visiting our school,’ Mr Martin said.

‘I’m not sure if you are aware of the impact that you have had on our students. Many of our students that were in attendance when you visited have made positive changes to the way they approach life’s challenges.’

Lifeline – 13 11 14 

The pair met on a flight to Melbourne, where Johns (pictured with girlfriend Kate Kendall) was to work as part of the broadcast team during the first State of Origin game in July

The pair met on a flight to Melbourne, where Johns (pictured with girlfriend Kate Kendall) was to work as part of the broadcast team during the first State of Origin game in July

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk