Wayne Bennett says Brisbane skipper Darius Boyd's public health battle inspired NRL star and Bowraville man Greg Inglis to seek treatment for depression.
South Sydney captain Inglis checked into a health facility last week after battling issues on and off the field since suffering a season-ending knee injury in the NRL opening round.
"The best part is recognising they have a problem and go and get some help. That's what I am most pleased about," Bennett said of Inglis.
"Darius probably led the way a little bit. He was so open about it. He didn't hide it and now he is a changed bloke.
"He is a pathfinder in some ways for the other players."
Boyd checked himself into a rehab facility and failed to finish the 2015 NRL season with Newcastle but emerged the next year at Brisbane a changed man.
He has not looked back, regaining career-best form and earning the Brisbane captaincy.
Bennett revealed he was involved in helping Inglis find a facility for treatment.
"Someone pretty close to me, without naming names, was involved in helping him get some advice," he said.
"It would be more than just the injury, but I don't want to go into it."
Inglis was reportedly upset that news of his depression had become public, but Bennett believed the NRL star should follow Boyd's lead.
"It's an issue in our society, and it always has been," he said. "But we are in a more open society. People don't want to hide any more.
"In the past it was a stigma. It was seen as being weak. All that has been removed, thank God."
Meanwhile, Sydney AFL coach John Longmire said Swans star Lance Franklin's public battle had taught him elite sporting clubs were now better equipped to deal with mental health issues.
Franklin took time out of the game and missed the 2015 AFL finals series before bouncing back to his best the next year and earning All-Australian honours.
"First of all I don't want to comment on Greg's situation specifically because . . . no two situations are the same," Longmire said.
"But I've got no doubt now society is much more equipped, particularly sporting clubs, to be able to deal with those challenges.
"If your'e a young person in an environment of a sporting club, I think your'e going to be well looked after in regards to that."