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Cricket Stars Go to Bat for Youth Mental Health

Cricket Stars Go to Bat for Youth Mental Health

Opening Up, a UK non-profit supporting mental health through cricket, launches in NZ

Kiwi cricket stars Rob Nicol, Daryl Mitchell and Christi Viljoen have teamed up with non-profit Opening Up to draw attention to youth mental health, inspire young people to seek help, and raise funds for Lifeline.

“We all know that Kiwis, especially teenagers, can struggle with low self-esteem, depression and other challenges. We want them to know that it’s okay to talk or ask for help,” said Otago Volts and former New Zealand batsman Rob Nicol. “Cricket is a game where there are many chances for us to connect with each other while batting, bowling, fielding, or sitting on the side-line to watch. Asking how your mate is doing could be the precursor for them to reach out and ask for help. I’m proud to support Opening Up NZ and Lifeline, and hope we can make a real difference for Kiwi youth through cricket.”

Opening Up will seek to raise awareness and start conversations through social media, posters in cricket clubs, a podcast and t-shirts -- the sale of which will raise funds for Lifeline. Rob Nicol, Daryl Mitchell and Christi Viljoen will be speaking out through social media, traditional media and events. The focus will be on promoting positive mental health through sport and starting conversations that can both improve and save lives.

Mark Boyns, the founder of Opening Up, said, “We are very happy to be launching an Opening Up campaign in New Zealand. We’ve been able to successfully engage the cricket community in the UK to increase discussions about mental health and to help players look after their minds just as they would their physical health. Now, alongside mental health charity Lifeline – and with the help of Rob, Daryl and Christi – we are spreading the message that it’s not weak to speak.”

The Unicef report ‘Building the Future’ released in June 2017 found that New Zealand’s youth suicide rate is the highest out of 41 developed countries; the report inspired Mark Boyns to want to help Kiwi youth.

Opening Up began following the death of English club cricketer Alex Miller in 2012, as his team mates were keen to start conversations about mental health. Having delivered 'mind and body' sessions to cricket clubs across the UK since 2014 with over 60 clubs receiving the content, building awareness across the country of suicide prevention.

Lifeline’s Executive Director, Glenda Schnell said, “We’re pleased to partner with Opening Up, supporting the New Zealand cricket community. If you’re struggling, it’s important to let someone know and talk it through. And if you don’t feel like you can talk to someone you know, Lifeline is here for you.”

If you need help or would like to support Lifeline, call 0800 LIFELINE (543 354). Lifeline provides 24/7, confidential support for people in distress.

For more information about Opening Up’s New Zealand campaign, or to order a poster for your club, visit and follow @openingupnz on Twitter and Instagram.


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