A Leeds Rhinos player who has battled depression is helping other young men with their problems via an online magazine
Loose forward Stevie Ward, 25, is the editor-in-chief of Mantality Magazine which aims to be a guide for the millennial generation.
He uses platforms like podcasts and videos to reach people who may be struggling with mental health. There are also long form articles and blogposts which aim to inspire young men to reach their potential and to be more open about their problems.
The website was formed around two-and a-half years ago. Stevie wanted to help others after he struggled with depression following a series of bad injuries back in 2014.
Stevie, from Morley, said: “It sparked something in me not to go back to that spot. I uncovered a lot of proactive tools, which people of my age or this generation can use to better evolve through mental health and to look more consciously at it.
“The top line of it is ‘for the millennial mind’. Mantality just offers a different kind of platform for millennials to look at and to help the every day male become a more comprehensive version of themselves, with the mind-set being the first point of address.”
He thinks men are gradually getting better at opening up about their problems.
The sportsman said: “I definitely think the culture is changing. Three years ago, let alone five or ten years ago, it was never really spoken about openly but now the culture is changing and people are talking about mental health, problems that they have faced or people they know have faced. It’s definitely changing, and for the better, because people don’t need to struggle on their own. Also it’s also something that can be looked at to improve and better your understanding of yourself too.”
Last year Stevie was asked to speak at a mental health event called Leeds Leads, in front of fellow mental health champion Prince Harry.
He said he talked to the royal about his own journey and the things he has discovered while doing Mantality.
Stevie added: “I think he was impressed with the whole event and what is going on with Leeds. From the chat that we had, he is very passionate and very forthright in what he wants to do and has some purposeful goals in mental health too. It really was an honour and a pleasure to be involved in such an event.”
Stevie is the figurehead of Mantality but it is far from being a one-man band. He runs it with his friend from school days Dominic Frazer, who does all the graphic design, website, video and sound elements.
They are also assisted on the Mantality podcast by Leeds based writer Chris O’Connor who Stevie calls a “really big force in the linguistic side of Mantality”.
Stevie said: “We get continuous feedback. All along the lines of the podcast has helped open their mind and understand a different perspective of themselves. I’ve had family members come up to me and say how much Mantality has helped their sons and brothers.”
Mantality is not just an online portal. It also offers three-day retreats to help men reach their potential. It staged one at Weetwood Hall Hotel earlier this year, which featured mentor Steve White, who was a strength and conditioning coach for the British Lions and other rugby teams. There is also a Mantality Club which offers monthly meet ups.
For more about Mantality events email firstname.lastname@example.org.