All Blacks captain Kieran Read has thrown his weight behind comments on depression and suicide, urging men going through a difficult period to reach out and "find anyone that you can trust".
The comments come after Jono Pryor from TV show Jono and Ben paid a tearful tribute to a friend who committed suicide after a battle with a mental illness last Thursday night.
The Rock radio station's Bryce Casey, who was friends with the same person, then discussed his experience on The Morning Rumble last Friday.
"Sadly, the mate we're off to bury is another suicide. It's another bloke that was in his 30s, one of the 550-plus every year that sadly doesn't see any other option. But the problem is it seems like the whole matter is kept silent... people don't ever want to talk about it," Casey said at the time.
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And now, during a recent interview Casey conducted with Kieran Read, the All Black skipper shared some pertinent advice on what to do if you're struggling with suicidal thoughts - and how important it is to look out for friends who may be struggling.
"Mate it's huge. I don't think we ever want to see people going through tough times but when you are people want to help, I think," he said.
"That's the most important thing; that your mates want to be there for you, so just asking someone and not being afraid is going to be beneficial for everyone."
Suicide is now New Zealand's third highest cause of death behind heart disease and lung cancer - but Read says that can be reduced if people feel empowered to open up on how they're feeling.
"It's just a simple thing but it can be so hard. I certainly know people, when they're going through different things are struggling so hard - but just reaching out; find a mate, find anyone that you can trust and talk to them, and it will help."
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, call:
- Lifeline on 0800 543 354
- Suicide Prevention Helpline on 0508 828 865
- Youthline on 0800 376 633, text 234 between 8am and midnight or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- 0800 WHATSUP (9428787) children's helpline between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and 3pm to 10pm on weekends; online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm each day on the whatsup website.
- Kidsline 24/7 on 0800 543 754 for children aged five to 18. A Kidsline buddy will be available between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays.