Raiders & Menslink combine for a year full of positive impact in schools across the ACT
Monday 23 September 2013 3:53 PM
Effective combinations between players often result in on-field success and off the field it is no different, with the combination between the Canberra Raiders and Menslink providing a year full of positive impact in high schools right across the ACT.
Throughout 2013, Menslink and the Raiders have taken their Silence is Deadly campaign out to over eight thousand students across the region to encourage young men to speak about their problems.
Most young men don’t talk about their problems or hassles. They bottle their stuff up inside and pretend it’s all fine so that they just can “get on with it” by themselves – without any help.
Unfortunately, this can often lead to suicide.
Young men suffer from depression and anxiety at around the same rate as young women – around one in four of them. But unlike the girls, only one in ten of guys who are having hassles will speak up, talk to someone and get help.
That’s why Menslink and the Raiders have got together this year to take the Silence is Deadly campaign out to young guys in high schools and colleges around Canberra and the surrounding areas.
The ‘role model’ tag gets bandied about often in sport but the Raiders have lived up to this title this year and some have grown into it with the help of Menslink.
The bottom line is that the Raiders players have assisted in saving lives.
As one school put it:
“A big number of boys have come forward since your session to report mental health concerns about themselves or others; it has created great opportunities for us to put some good strategies and interventions in place to assist their recovery. At least five issues have come out that I think would not have come out if it wasn’t for your visit. So, in short, thank you”
Menslink CEO Martin Fisk has been blown away by how much the club has bought into the program and how passionate the players and staff have been in delivering the ‘Silence is Deadly’ message.
“The Raiders have been fantastic and wonderful vehicles to help deliver the messages to the schools. I want to say thank you so much for the outstanding job that you have done as role models in the Silence is Deadly campaign.
“You blokes have been fantastic - from the video to the actual school sessions. We have now taken the program to over eight thousand young guys in groups from four to over four hundred at a time. The message has always been the same – that we all have hassles in our life (even successful footy players) but that it’s OK to talk about them to mates, to family and to counselors and other professionals. Staying silent only makes things worse.
“You might be wondering whether you’ve made a difference or whether it was worth the effort. The answer to that is a resounding YES. We’ve had school after school, young guy after young guy come up to us, thank us and tell us that they’re getting help. Schools have told us about young guys coming forward with really serious issues that they've never spoken about before: mental health issues, family violence, even suicide.
“One young guy came up to me personally after a session with a very serious issue in his life. He hadn’t told his parents or the school – he was just one of the quiet kids that nobody noticed. He got up the courage to talk after listening to you guys and is now receiving the help he needs.
“There are lots of young guys now – maybe hundreds - getting help right across Canberra because you’ve given them the confidence to speak up.
“For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know it’s been a tough year but, for me personally, my association with the Raiders has been one of the best of my life.
“Together we have kicked some serious goals. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say we’ve saved lives. Young blokes lives. Young blokes who may go on to do amazing things.”
Fisk will be pleased to know that the benefits derived from the Silence is Deadly program have also benefited the players.
The NRL players have an improved understanding of the positive effects they can make in the community and have improved their public speaking skills remarkably.
The Raiders’ NYC players, many of whom are of the same age as some of the students, have also benefited enormously from the program with Community Manager Charlotte Anneveld seeing first-hand the growth in maturity the players have had.
“We as a club have been enormously proud of the players and their efforts,” Anneveld said. “Many players come up to me and ask when the next visit will be.
The NYC players have gone from being pretty shy but now they are incredibly open, confident and well spoken. They speak of some of the troubles that they have endured and the students really respond to them.
“It’s been a wonderful program for us and something that we’re looking forward to continuing next year.”
CLICK HERE for more information on Menslink.