Unions fo­cused on men­tal well­be­ing

The Northland Age - - Sport -

Men­tal well­be­ing will be the theme for New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup and Farah Palmer Cup pro­vin­cial unions this week as they show their sup­port for Men­tal Health Aware­ness Week (MHAW) and play­ers share tips about cop­ing with stress and pres­sure.

The Well­be­ing Round is an ini­tia­tive driven by New Zealand Rugby’s (NZR) well­be­ing pro­gramme, Head­first, and will en­cour­age play­ers, coaches, ref­er­ees and fans to fol­low the MHAW theme of Let Na­ture In, Strengthen Your Well­be­ing.

Play­ers will be shar­ing their own tips via so­cial me­dia videos this week as they be­gin the busi­ness end of their re­spec­tive com­pe­ti­tions as the Mitre 10 Cup en­ters the fi­nal round of the reg­u­lar sea­son and the Farah Palmer Cup heads into semi­fi­nals.

The Well­be­ing Round will co­in­cide with New Zealand’s MHAW which runs from Mon­day to Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 8-14.

Among those pro­mot­ing the Well­be­ing mes­sage are Head­first am­bas­sadors All Black Nehe Mil­ner-Skud­der, Black Ferns Sevens star Ruby Tui and All Blacks cen­tu­rion Keven Mealamu.

“Ev­ery­one ex­pe­ri­ences stress at some point and it can get on top of you if you don’t take time out to get away from things,” Mil­ner-Skud­der said. “For me that can be as sim­ple as head­ing down to the beach af­ter mahi [work] and spend­ing a bit of time in the fresh air walk­ing my dogs.”

Tui said head­ing to the beach for a walk on the sand or a dip in the ocean al­ways helped de­crease her stress lev­els af­ter a tough week of mahi.

“Hav­ing a bit of me-time is re­ally im­por­tant for your men­tal health and well­be­ing,” she said. “Breath­ing in some fresh air and feel­ing the sand be­tween your toes is a great way to kick back, un­wind and fo­cus on you with­out the clut­ter of what­ever it is that’s on your mind.”

NZR Ed­u­ca­tion and Well­be­ing Man­ager Dr Nathan Price said it was of­ten the sim­plest things that helped the most in men­tal health.

“It’s easy to sit around and waste a lot of en­ergy wor­ry­ing but get­ting out of the house and spend­ing a bit of time in the fresh air can do won­ders,” he said.

“Whether that’s just head­ing to a lo­cal park or re­serve for a walk or go­ing down to sup­port your lo­cal team it’s a good way to clear your head and keep on top of your well­be­ing.”

New Zealand Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Shaun Robin­son said it was great to have the rugby com­mu­nity’s sup­port.

“We are thrilled that New Zealand Rugby have sup­ported MHAW through the Mitre 10 Cup and Farah Palmer Cup Well­be­ing Round and that their play­ers are shar­ing our mes­sage to Let Na­ture In with the thou­sands of men and women in­volved in the rugby com­mu­nity. We en­cour­age all New Zealan­ders to get out and em­brace na­ture in or­der to sup­port and nur­ture their well­be­ing.”

■ Any­one seek­ing ad­vice on men­tal health or well­be­ing or ex­pe­ri­enc­ing stress, anx­i­ety or de­pres­sion can go on­line to the Head­first web­site (www.head­first.co.nz) or visit the New Zealand Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion web­site.

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