Gloucester Rugby Foundation are continuing to press forward with the development of plans for the Gloucester Rugby Mental Health initiative. The initiative has the core objective to raise awareness & understanding of mental health in Gloucestershire, and promote the support available to those who need it.
Former HITZ student, John Zecca, 21, of Gloucester took part in the award-winning Gloucester Rugby HITZ employability programme. John was recommended by HITZ Tutor Matt Russell, who knew John would be a fantastic representative for the project which is underway at the club.
When asked about why he wanted to be involved in the awareness campaign, John stated;
“I’ve had troubles with my personal mental health in the past and having to go through those experiences kind of alone was a very difficult process. Due to that, I want to try and help as many people as possible who are going through similar issues and the Gloucester Rugby Mental Health Campaign is a fantastic beginning. The people I’ve met that are part of the campaign care as much as I do about this subject, so I couldn’t turn away when an opportunity like this presented itself.”
John went on to explain;
“I’ve had experiences with mental health and illnesses from a young age. Both witnessing it from family members and going through and dealing with it myself. I spent a lot of my time isolated on my own as I didn’t quite understand what it was I was dealing with at the time.
“At the time no one really knew or wanted to talk about my difficulties and as I was so young at the time I wasn’t believed at first, it took a lot of time and effort on my part to be able to get the help I needed, and even after I manage to begin seeking help I was originally told it was just down to be me being a teenager.
“Due to that my issues got worse but I was able to find and create a good supportive group of friends and mentors that was able to help me deal with and manage the struggles I was going through. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do anything that I dream about today.”
After the HITZ program, I want to continue looking towards helping people cope with and be free of Mental Health Issues, ultimately the goal is to go through all the necessary steps needed to become a Psychologist so I can continue to help wherever I can.”
Gloucester Rugby are unable to provide help or advice on an individual basis. If you or someone you know needs immediate help with their mental health, please speak to a medical professional or make an appointment with your GP.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help! There are some great organisations available to talk to in complete confidence for either yourself or to recommend to others, including:
Let’s Talk – a free NHS service for anyone experiencing mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression. It can be contacted on 0800 073 2200 or via talk2gether.nhs.uk.
If you feel you need more help, you can call the 2getherNHS Foundation Trust in Gloucestershire direct on 0800 073 2200 to discuss an appointment.
The mental health charity Mind runs a helpline on 0300 123 3393, or 86463 on text.
The Samaritans are also always there for those who have nowhere else to turn. You can call the Samaritans on 116 123.