Mental illness effects 1 in 4 people in the UK. This means that at some point in our daily lives we will come into contact with someone who has been suffering from a mental health issue. It could be a colleague, a family member or a complete stranger.
As part of the RPA’s support for Time To Talk Day we spoke to Bath Rugby prop and RPA Player Representative, Kane Palma-Newport, as he has an extremely personal connection to what the campaign aims to achieve.
“My gran and my cousin are both schizophrenic and my sister is a paranoid schizophrenic, so this is an issue that is extremely personal to me and I am so proud of the RPA for supporting this initiative. If we can help just one person as a result of today it would be incredible.
“As rugby players we experience a lot of highs and lows, which can fluctuate from week to week. Some people find it difficult to enjoy the highs because they are so consumed by their own darkness. It’s vital to talk to someone about these issues and not face them on your own.”
The day is part of the Time to Change anti-stigma campaign run by the leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. The aim of the day is to encourage the nation to take five minutes to discuss mental health on the 5th February.
“It’s absolutely paramount to talk about these issues. It’s not about being weak, my cousin for example stayed strong for too long, and things got darker and darker in his head. He began hearing voices and became depressed. If he’d had counsellors to talk to at the time, like he does now, things would have been a lot different.”
The Bath Rugby prop was keen to stress if any of his fellow professionals are struggling with mental health issues they should forget about stereotypes and talk to someone.
“We’re all macho rugby players and we find it hard to talk about our emotions but we have to move away from that attitude as there are too many young people in this country committing suicide because they feel they can’t discuss these problems. My advice would be talk to someone, whether it’s your partner, a friend, a counsellor or whoever these issues need to be discussed.”
All RPA Members can access 24/7 support through the RPA Confidential Counselling Service with LPP. You’re not alone, don’t suffer in silence.
Take 5 minutes on the 5th Feb to talk about mental health, visit http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/ for ways of engaging in Time to Talk Day and tweet #TimeToTalk to show your support.