Speaking out helped me - and can help you too, says Wakefield Trinity’s Reece Lyne
Currently, there is Rugby League Cares, State of Mind and Andy’s Man Club to name just three in rugby league alone as well as bigger organisations such as Sporting Chance.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Lyne said: “There has been massive changes.
“It’s 10 years ago now since I first started playing professionally and we had this stigma then where it was weak to speak.
“You felt you couldn’t show any weakness and, if you did, the coach wouldn’t want to pick you or the players around you wouldn’t want to listen. But fast forward to now, and these last few years, and it’s shown it is accepted; players, people can speak out.
“It’s not seen as a weakness and there are a lot of platforms there to help and to encourage. That is so important.”
Lyne, 27, conceded he struggled with his own mental health earlier in his life before realising he had to act.
To anyone who may be in a similar position now, the former Hull FC player had one piece of advice.
He said: “I’d say reach out. The worst thing you can do – and I’ve been through it all myself – is to bottle it all up and block out your emotions.
“It leads you down a dark path. If I was to give advice to anyone, it’s to open up.
“It’s the best thing I ever did personally to speak to a counsellor and deal with things.
“Do that rather than trying to block them out and go down the wrong routes and doing the wrong things which ultimately could see you lose your career or, more importantly, your life.
“There’s a lot of people around willing to help you and to listen.”
Lyne burst onto the scene as a youngster at hometown Hull but, looking back, accepts he was not ready for what came.
“Growing up things were difficult for me as my mum was a single-mum, I had no dad around and there was a lot of domestic violence, drink and drugs,” recalled the three-quarter, now approaching 200 games for Trinity since joining in 2012.
“When you’re a young child it’s hard to deal with and then that hits you later on in life.
“To then be thrown into being a professional sportsman at 16, making my debut at 17, it was kind of a big whirlwind and you never really deal with the things from your childhood. All of a sudden it just hits you and I started taking those wrong paths leading to gambling and prescription drugs and things like that.
“For me to speak to a counsellor and deal with things from the past – that was the root of the problem – was the best thing ever; from that my life and career has blossomed. I’ve not looked back.”
It was earlier in his time at Belle Vue that Lyne made use of Tony Adams’ Sporting Chance facility to help steer him down the right path. During the current state of uncertainty that coronavirus has brought, with people living in lockdown and perhaps isolation, there are fears mental health issues could rise significantly.
“It could be a lonely time and there could be a lot of people who don’t have family or friends around them during this time,
“Don’t be afraid to reach out or speak out. There are a lot of people out there ready to help.
“With us at Wakefield, over this lockdown we’ve been off, there’s been messages to and from players just checking in on each other and making sure everyone is alright. We all look after each other and I keep trying to keep an eye on the younger ones especially.
“And there’s a lot of platforms now for people to reach out.”
Lyne is now one of the best centres in Super League, making his England debut in 2018 and representing England Nines last year.
On Twitter, he recently posted an amusing video of his young daughter being left to her own devices with chocolate.
Lyne, furloughed like the rest of Trinity’s players, admitted: “She’s nearly two years old and keeping me on my toes. Lockdown’s all right. Obviously I’m missing rugby and being around the lads but I’m just trying to keep in the best shape possible ready for whenever we return.”
Mental Health Awareness Week runs until Sunday and is the UK’s national week.
Led by the Mental Health Foundation, it raises awareness of mental health and inspires action to promote the message of good mental health for all.
This year, kindness, to both ourselves and others, is the theme.
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