There's no fault in talking about mental health
By Tysyn Hall, Bupa Social Media Executive.
I look at myself in the mirror and I see a pretty normal bloke. Someone who loves his Collingwood Football Club, a night out with friends, family gatherings, a guy fascinated with sport – and potentially obsessed with caps and vintage t-shirts!
This is what I tell myself, anyway. Just like so many, I too have my own internal struggles that I sometimes mask with smile and a cheeky joke. But what I have managed to do after so many years of searching for answers is to speak about my anxiety.
Throughout my life at high school, university and even within my social circle there is a perception that it’s weak to speak.
I’ve learned as I get older, it is in fact the total opposite. Speaking about your problems, stresses and whatever it is in your life that makes you anxious can be empowering.
My older brother openly talks about his regular appointments with a psychologist, not necessarily because he needs to, but because as he says, “it is therapeutic”. We always used to bicker about whether speaking to someone in that setting worked or not, however, after doing it myself for over a year now I can confidently say it does.
Talking has been one part of the journey – but exercise, especially tennis has been a big player in helping reset my mind.
Growing up as a kid, with my long hair seeping through, I’d don my cap backwards, and I used to think I could be a little Nalbandian sprinkled with a dash of Hewitt.
Tennis helps me move away from the day-to-day stresses. It’s just me, a few balls, a racquet, an opponent and it’s fun – and depending on who I’m playing, I can unleash my competitive side too.
The health benefits of tennis are well-documented. You can halve your risk of heart disease and it also releases endorphins that make you ”feel good” which helps lower stress and improves your mood.
This Friday, I have partnered with Beyond Blue and Tennis Australia to play tennis for 24 hours straight to raise money and awareness for mental health and suicide prevention.
I have roped in people from all walks of life to hit with me during the 24 hours at Melbourne Park, where my greatest tennis heroes have played. I’ve had incredible support, but there’s still time to join me for a hit.
My body won’t thank me for this the next day. But there is a bigger game at stake here - and if I can play a small part in helping others by opening up about my own personal experience through something like this, then that’s some small but important steps as part of national conversation.
There are still spots available if you’d like to hit with me - just reach out via Instagram or email (email@example.com).
And if you can’t hit the court with me, jump on my donation page to play what part you can.