Cricketers go to bat for health service

  • 02/12/2017
New Zealand has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the developed world.
New Zealand has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the developed world. Photo credit: Getty

Kiwi cricketers are lending their names to an initiative designed to draw attention to mental illness and raise funds for counselling service Lifeline.

Opening Up, a British non-profit organisation, has set up in New Zealand and has first-class players Rob Nicol, Daryl Mitchell and Christi Viljoen on board.

"We all know that Kiwis, especially teenagers, can struggle with low self-esteem, depression and other challenges," Otago Volts skipper and former New Zealand batsman Nicol says.

"We want them to know that it's okay to talk or ask for help.

"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."

New Zealand has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the developed world.

Opening Up will seek to raise awareness and start conversations through social media, posters at cricket clubs, a podcast and T-shirts - the sale of which will raise funds for Lifeline.

Nicol, Mitchell and Viljoen will be use social and traditional media to promote positive mental health through sport and starting conversations that can improve and save lives, Opening Up founder Mark Boyns says.

The organisation had successfully engaged the cricket community in Britain, with 60 clubs there supporting it, he said.

He set it up after the death of promising young cricketer Alex Miller in 2012.

NZN