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Hawks champion positive mental health  July 17, 2017 4:56 PM

Mental health is the game changer Learn more about anxiety, depression and suicide prevention, or talk through your concerns. Email or chat to us online at

Hawthorn Football Club has extended its commitment to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health with the announcement of Cyril Rioli and Taylor Duryea as the club’s Mental Health Program ambassadors.

Rioli and Duryea have been announced as ambassadors ahead of the annual beyondblue cup which will take place against the Sydney Swans in Round 19 at the MCG.

Hawthorn strongly believes that talking about mental health is the game changer and through its Mental Health Program aims to encourage and foster more conversation about the importance of people’s mental health.

Both Rioli and Duryea are passionate about the need to reduce stigma surrounding mental health conditions and hoped they could use their position as AFL players to raise awareness in this area. 

“Anxiety and depression are just like physical injuries – they can affect anyone and most importantly, they’re treatable with the right kind of support,” Duryea said.

“We’re hoping that through the mental health programs the club provides and supports, and the awareness we raise through the beyondblue cup each year we are able to reduce some of the stigma surrounding mental health.”

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Rioli said he hoped to bring awareness to the support services available and encourage those affected by mental health issues to seek help, particularly in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities.

“Growing up on the Tiwi Islands I’ve seen first-hand the impact mental health has on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities, so I wanted to do my bit to get people talking about mental health and encourage those affected to seek help,” Rioli said.

“People need to be aware that there are services out there, such as beyondblue, that will help you find the right kind of support.”

Hawthorn CEO Tracey Gaudry applauded the involvement of the players as mental health ambassadors and the work the club is doing for mental health.

“It is terrific to see both Taylor and Cyril becoming mental health ambassadors and supporting the important work the club is doing to improve mental health outcomes throughout the community,” Gaudry said.

“Mental health is a key community focus area for the club, and is a cause we will continue to champion through our partnerships with beyondblue and Love Me Love You, and the club’s school program Looking After ME.

“beyondblue and Hawthorn Football Club have been working together since 2006 with the aim to create an Australian community that understands anxiety and depression, and empowers every person, at any life stage, to seek help for mental health conditions.”

Hawthorn expanded their Mental Health Program last month to include a new partnership with not-for-profit organisation Love Me Love You. 

With former Hawks player Lance Picioane as its founder and CEO, Love Me Love You strives to empower young adults to help overcome the stigma surrounding mental health and other life hardships.

Last year the club also launched Looking After ME, a three-week curriculum-based Primary School program tailored to Grade 3 and 4 students that introduces the importance of nutritional health, physical activity and mental health to children.

Off the back of Duryea and Rioli’s appointment as Mental Health Program ambassadors Hawthorn’s players, coaches and staff united to share the club’s message that talking about mental health is the game changer. Watch the video above.