By Hannah Wadley on 22 May 2018
Stephen Moore spoke of the suicide of former teammate, Daniel Vickerman, last Thursday night to stress the importance of supporting men and their mental health.
“We still miss him a lot. When I look back, there are things that I feel like I could have done better,” said Moore.
With 1 in 2 Australian men affected by a mental health problem, Moore said it is important to ask the right questions and know what the triggers are.
“Don’t ever assume everything is okay. As we’ve seen with Dan, there are a lot of people out there going through the same thing,” said Moore.
Moore joined forces with Blokepedia, speaking to over 60 guests at a recent event hosted by Alder Constructions and Aether Brewing in Milton.
With a 15-year professional career in rugby union, Moore is known for being Australia’s most capped Super Rugby player, and the only rugby hooker to have played 100 tests.
Moore has seen challenges with mental health in all aspects of his career – in teammates, opponents, even in himself.
“I was 19 years of age when I took my first professional contract with the Queensland Reds,” said Moore.
“The team dynamic was different back then, as mental health was viewed as something that was not talked about. It was considered to be something really negative, like a disease.”
“These days, particularly for today’s young players, mental health has massive impacts due to factors like social media, where personal criticism really affects a player’s ability to play,” said Moore.
“My advice for kids is simply don’t go on social media, and surround yourself with good people. Not just in your career, but life in general.”
Moore reflected on the severe impacts on mental health in players when they undergo the transition of leaving a high-performing sports career to a normal life.
“You can prepare as much as you want, but you never know what it’s like until that day comes, whether its due to injury, form, age or a combination of all three,” said Moore.
“Someone once said to me you need to have something to retire to, not retire from. Something where you can follow your passion after your sports career.”
“What helped me get through my transition was that I had a plan. I talked about working in agriculture for 12 months before actually leaving the sport,” said Moore.
Moore was joined by clinical experts, Dr. Clive Williams and Dr. James Kirby, as guest speakers for the event.
Dr. Williams supported Moore’s reflections of men who struggle to look after their own mental health and wellbeing.
“Men get conditioned to bottle up their emotions, but they are never taught when they need to empty that bottle,” says Dr. Williams.
Founder of Blokepedia, Josh Quarmby, spoke of how Blokepedia began in January 2017 after writing a blog article on the death of his father and how he bottled up his emotions to cope.
“It was at this point I realised the power of storytelling and the benefits of opening up about things that are happening in our lives,” said Quarmby.
“We want to start having the conversations about things that are impacting the lives of every man. And these conversations involve us all.”
Blokepedia’s next event will be hosted on July 11 at the Hotel West End. Tickets available through Eventbrite.