In September 2022, we launched our 'Behind the Jersey' campaign, aiming to raise awareness and initiate conversations about mental health in the world of sports. Through interviews with 17 athletes across Aotearoa, we shed light on the personal challenges they face both on and off the field. We also conducted in-depth interviews with four renowned athletes - Niall Williams, Symone Tafuna'i, Tai Wynyard, and Izzy Dagg - to share their inspiring stories.
The positive feedback we received after the campaign launch reinforced the need to continue these conversations. As part of our efforts, we visited schools in Auckland and Christchurch, engaging with sports teams and students from various year groups. Jazz delivered a talk, sharing her own mental health experience while addressing topics like bullying and the significance of seeking support when facing challenges. Gen introduced the campaign and facilitated a Q&A session with former All Black, Izzy Dagg. The Q&A delved into Izzy's personal journey with mental health, covering aspects of his childhood, education, career, and retirement. His candid and authentic storytelling inspired students to pursue their sporting dreams while reminding them that athletes also face mental health struggles.
Connecting with students and having open conversations about mental health was an incredible experience for us. The engagement and vulnerability demonstrated by both the students and Izzy left us inspired.
Here is some of the feedback we received from schools:
"Thank you and your team for visiting! It had a great impact on the students who attended."
"We truly appreciate the time you dedicated to speak with our learners. They were buzzing with excitement afterward."
A BIG thank you to Mt Albert Grammar, Whangaparāoa College, Selwyn College, Rangiora High School, Christchurch Boys High School, and Hagley College for hosting us!