Ex-NRL player reaches out

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

On a mission to make sure the most masculine of men know it is OKto cry, former National Rugby League player Dan Hunt paid a visit to Hedland Senior High School to speak to students on R U OK? Day.

After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010, following a ruptured Achilles tendon, Hunt’s experience with mental illness ignited a passion that has turned into a career.

Now a mental health ambassador, Hunt spoke to students at the local high school to help those who feel they cannot reach out.

“Mental health doesn’t discriminate — it can affect anyone at any time,” he said.

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“What people need to fundamentally understand is everyone has a mental health and mental health is not mental illness.”

The 31-year-old studied at TAFE and the University of Wollongong and is now a qualified social worker.

He said he hoped to change the culture around mental health and teach people how and where to get help.

“People say youth today aren’t as resilient as we used to be — I disagree with that,” he said.

“I think our youth are resilient — it’s just they’re dealing with a different landscape,” he said. “The students here have been very engaged, and have really listened.

“I could tell they were ready to understand and it was a topic they wanted to know more about.”

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