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Shining a light on Men’s Health

Movember for #menshealth

Glasshouse Districts Cricket Club (GDCC) is taking part in Movember. Saturday, November 27, is the inaugural edition of Mo Cup at Glasshouse Mountains Sports Club – an event to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, with a particular focus on mental health.

In recent years, there has been greater awareness of mental health in sport and society. International cricketers Ben Stokes, Will Pucovski, and Sophie Molineux are just some of the high-profile cricketers who have spoken about their mental health challenges and taken time away from the game we all love. This has helped to reduce the stigma of mental health in our community.

Closer to home, Glasshouse Districts Cricket Club lost a close friend and valued club person earlier this year to mental health battles. The loss of a treasured friend and some members of the club opening up about their own mental health experiences, has shone a light on the need for people to open up, speak to friends and seek help if they are struggling.

It is estimated about 45% of Australians may experience a mental illness at some point in their lives and each year approximately one in five Australians will experience a mental illness (Mindframe).

Glasshouse Districts Cricket Club – An important support network

Stuart Martin began playing at GDCC in 2018. Stuart shared his mental health story and how being involved in a sporting club has had a positive impact on his life.  

Stuart first experienced mental health issues from a young age when his parents separated. Different factors have triggered periods of anxiety and depression for Stuart.  

“I went through a really rough patch with work, with people. A lot of stress and anxiety around different aspects of my life. Cricket wasn’t fun anymore.” Stuart recalled.  

Stuart’s family was always supportive and encouraged him to seek help following a period of substance use. Stuart took the first step to see a doctor, which was a catalyst to begin opening up to friends. This had a positive impact on his mental health.

Stuart moved to Glasshouse to be close to his partner’s family. Stuart joined the cricket club after telling his partner three years earlier on a family visit that he would play cricket there (at GDCC).

Stuart says the people in the cricket club have become an important support network in his life.

“I think it has been the most supportive club. We have got a close-knit, few people who always check up on each other, which is so important.” Stuart said.

Bryan Hill is a stalwart at GDCC. He has captained lower divisions for several years, creating a culture in which players have an outlet from their day-to-day lives and can enjoy a laugh with mates.  

Bryan has battled depression throughout his life. Bryan lost two close friends to suicide in the past 12 months. Experiencing this reinforced the importance of encouraging friends to talk, be vulnerable, and be there for each other.

“I have been in some pretty bad holes myself. The further down you get with depression, the smaller the light is and the less you hear people saying, ‘Mate, come up, come up.’” Bryan said.

Bryan stressed how important cricket is, giving him an outlet for social connection.

“I physically should not be playing cricket.

“It hurts way too much; I honestly worry when I do get to a stage where I can’t play.

“I don’t know what I will do. I will replace cricket with golf, only because it is with three other guys who you can have some competition with and a bit of a laugh. I think it is super important.”

Stuart and Bryan emphasised the importance of talking to people and that you are never alone.

“They (friends and teammates) made it feel as though I wasn’t alone, they shared some of their feelings, thoughts, and that they were going through similar sorts of things.

“They offered assistance, and when you get to that stage, you are not alone. I took the offer up from a couple of them (to talk). It gives you security, that it is ok, especially to feel like that.” Stuart said.

Bryan has learnt to observe the triggers that someone might be feeling a bit down. It can be difficult to start the conversation, but it is more important to ask and be knocked back than to not ask.

“It is out of a lot of people’s comfort zone. It is a bit like public speaking, but you are exposing yourself to one person.

“The risk of offending someone (or them brushing off the question) is worth the attempt to ask, ‘Are you alright?’

You might get, ‘Do you have a moment?’

‘Absolutely, I have a moment’ That risk is worth it.” Bryan emphasised.

It saves lives.

Sporting clubs and teams should be supportive, inclusive environments for people of all walks of life. A place in which people can be open and vulnerable and know they will be supported. The message is clear. Talking does help, you are not alone, and it will get better. Today, reach out and ask a mate, “How are you doing? Are you ok? I am here for you if you would like to talk.”

If you or anyone you know needs help, call:

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Beyondblue on 1300 22 46 36

Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800

To donate to our 2021 Movember team, please head to:

https://au.movember.com/team/2404674



Article by Justin Lillecrapp

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