New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is encouraging people to take small steps to support their mental wellbeing, as part of a new digital campaign launched today.
Driven by HeadFirst, NZR’s mental health and wellbeing programme, the ‘Small Steps’ campaign provides people with a series of simple tips and tools to strengthen their mental fitness and encourage kōrero within the rugby community.
Among those showing their support for the campaign is HeadFirst Ambassador and Olympic Sevens gold medallist, Ruby Tui.
"We want to transform the important conversations about mental wellbeing, into real-life actions.
"Our hope is that by encouraging our rugby community to take simple steps every day like taking five, getting enough sleep, and checking in with a mate, this will have a positive ripple effect on their friends and whānau.”
Since its launch in 2017, HeadFirst has utilised themed rounds in Super Rugby and large-scale activations such as ‘A moment against silence’ to help build awareness around the importance of mental wellbeing.
HeadFirst Programme Manager, Suzie McDonald, said this campaign aims to take this one step further and signals a shift in HeadFirst’s approach to have a greater impact at the grassroots level.
“Knowing the importance of looking after our mental wellbeing is a great start, but in order to have a real impact within our rugby community, we need to combine that with simple and practical steps everyone can take to help both themselves and others.
“It’s really important we have all have the skills and support we need to tackle life’s challenges, and it’s often a series of small things that can have the biggest impact on strengthening our mental fitness and resilience.”
Visit the HeadFirst website
HeadFirst launched in March 2017 and aims to increase awareness of mental health and wellbeing within rugby and challenge the stigmas associated with talking about it, particularly amongst young men.
Supported by funding partner, Movember, HeadFirst targets players, whānau, coaches, referees, volunteers and supporters in the rugby community and delivers face-to-face workshops to professional and community players and offers a range of free tools and resources.
Note: Anyone seeking advice on mental health or wellbeing, or experiencing stress, anxiety or depression, can free call or text 1737 to chat to a trained professional.