Traditional rivals are teaming up to tackle youth mental health issues.
Through his charity project A Stitch in Time, Wildcats vice-captain Greg Hire has assembled auction items from a who’s who of Perth sport. Wildcats captains Shawn Redhage and Damian Martin, team legend James Crawford, and stars from the Eagles, Dockers, Western Force and Perth Glory all donated merchandise to fundraise for Youth Focus, an organisation that provides support services for young people vulnerable to mental health issues. “It’s really humbling,” says Greg. “As my role in the team has changed from a development player to a vice-captain, I’ve realised that I can use that influence in a positive way.” Greg found Youth Focus through one of its board members – retired Eagles player Beau Waters. “There are a lot of really great organisations out there, but Youth Focus really stuck out for me because of the focus on mentoring,” he says. “I’d like to start running workshops, get a panel together – people who have gone through mental health issues, sharing their stories. Giving back.” Though he’s quick to brand himself a non-expert, Greg says you don’t need a psychology degree to talk about mental health – just trust, something in abundance at many sports clubs.“When I’ve been struggling with issues I’ve gone straight to my teammates. Your character is tested in sporting teams, in businesses, and you can bank on that support.”