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batyr speaker Kyle reflects on Get Talkin’ experience

September 2, 2019

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Over July and early August, batyr once again teamed up with NSW Warratahs and the NSW Positive Rugby Foundation to deliver the second leg of our Get Talkin’ tour in regional NSW.

In total, we were able to reach 1,300 people in 9 communities to continue the conversation around mental health, delivering:

  • 13 [email protected] programs.
  • 5 ambassador workshops.
  • 13 rugby skills clinics with the NSW Waratahs.

Such a huge achievement! We couldn’t have had the impact we had without the lived experience stories of young people like Kyle, who reflects on his Get Talkin’ experience below:

To be a part of the Get Talking Tour with batyr was such a fantastic opportunity! I got to go on a plane for the first time, meet so many great people and share my story with some amazing communities.

I was so nervous to share my story that during my first session I dropped my papers halfway through and had to scramble to pick them all back up and reorder them. I don’t think I have ever been more embarrassed than I was in that moment, but the students were great and let me take the time to compose myself again and continue. Having students come up to me after the session and thank me for coming and let me know they relate to my story, or that they can simply appreciate the strength it took to share was amazing. Knowing that there are so many young people out there that are willing to not only acknowledge mental health but are willing to have conversations about it truly inspires me.

As somebody who grew up in a regional town myself, I know how difficult overcoming the stigma can be in smaller communities. I was surprised by how at home I felt in the rugby clubs we visited. At local sports club social rooms – it didn’t matter that it was a thousand kilometres away from home, or that it was a completely different sport to the one I’d grown up playing –  standing there, listening to the club members talking, seeing the president behind the bar who knew everyone’s name, and the guy manning the barbeque because he didn’t trust anybody else to do it, it was a place I was so familiar with even though I’d never been there before. I was there to talk about mental health and my story, something that I never felt I could do within my own club growing up. The rugby clubs were definitely a highlight for me, to go into a room full of guys and share my story about struggling with the ideas of what it means to be a man was something I was scared to do but I knew that the conversation is an important one to have and I am so glad I did it.

Over the tour, I shared my story eight times. I’m not sure how many people ended up hearing my story but I imagine it was a lot. I am so proud to have shown all those people the importance of seeking help. I often think about what my journey would have looked like if I had a guy at some point in my life not only tell me but show me that it’s okay to be vulnerable and that showing emotions isn’t a bad thing. So my proudest moment and my biggest highlight is that I got to be that person for so many young guys that heard me speak.