FOUR Collingwood Football Club players have helped launch the Wonthaggi Youth Hub with personal mental health conversations and quality time with Wonthaggi Secondary College students.
Stepping under the door frame of the Youth Hub was the tallest player in the AFL, American Mason Cox, along with Max Lynch from Albury, Flynn Appleby from rural Victoria and from the city Brayden Sier.
The boys took a seat on the Youth Hub couches and spoke to 22 Wonthaggi Secondary VCAL students openly, answering prepared questions.
After being asked about dealing with alcohol and drugs, Mason held the room’s attention with his accent and informative messages.
“It’s definitely prevalent here in society compared to the US,” Mason said.
“For me, I find happiness in other areas of life, by surrounding myself with other positive people.
“I think I’m lucky, it’s something I have never been attracted to,” he said.
When asked how he looks after his mates, Flynn said it was about touching base and caring.
“You get to know people’s mannerisms when you work with them and are around them all the time. You can usually tell when something is up,” Flynn said.
“You don’t have to force yourself on them to try and know [everything] if you know that something’s going on, let them know you’re there to talk,” he said.
The players also said they had weekly appointments with their club’s psychologist to check in on their own mental health.
Max Lynch said he had difficulties with his mental health in the early years of high school.
“From year seven to nine I had some anxiety and it took me a while to figure out what it was,” Max said.
“After going to a psychologist, it helped me understand what I was feeling, and now at the club, it’s something that I can keep an eye on,” he said.
The players were also asked how they deal with social media.
“The social media cyclone is something that we have to take with a grain of salt,” said Brayden.
“We really need to distance ourselves from it and be aware if it’s having an effect on us,” he said.
Following the questions, the players were taken on a tour around the club’s facilities, led by Wonthaggi Boxing Club’s Steve Dunn.
“Our first priority is about getting people fitter. Here you can become a member for just $40 a year and get involved in a range of activities.”
Steve said that already this year the club had done multiple field trips.
“We have been stand up paddle boarding, surfing, paintballing and played basketball at the new gym.”
Steve said the partnership with the Youth Hub was already beginning to flourish and he welcomed new members to training on Monday and Wednesday evenings, with a girls’-only class on Thursday nights.
Magpies open up about mental health with Wonthaggi’s youth