Jack Hanratty wants to cause a “domino effect” of mental health support in the Nova Scotia sporting community, and he’s starting with a bracelet.
Over his three years as Provincial Coach for Rugby Nova Scotia (RNS), Hanratty has seen firsthand an increasing number of rugby players who are affected by mental illness and mental health concerns. Additionally, the prevalence of high stress and stigma within the sporting community can often compound the issue, he says. Senior players from RNS decided it was time to rally around their team mates through fundraising and by offering a strong message of support.
“Rugby Nova Scotia is incredibly proud of how tight knit our rugby community is here in the province,” Hanratty says. “We at RNS want you to feel okay about not feeling okay.”
Once the idea took shape, Hanratty reached out to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, and the organizations have partnered for the Rugby Nova Scotia Tackles Mental Health campaign. RNS has ordered rubber bracelets featuring the tagline, “If you talk, I will listen. If you listen, I will talk.” The bracelets will be sold by players and supporters for $10.00. Five dollars from each sale will be designated to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, and the other half designated to a support fund for younger players striving to reach high performance.
“We know active living can help support good mental health,” says Starr Dobson, Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia President and CEO. “It’s wonderful to see a sporting organization step up to ensure the culture of sport can also have a positive impact. We are proud to work with the team at Rugby Nova Scotia – their enthusiasm is inspiring.”
On Monday, June 13, the two organizations will host an event at Sport Nova Scotia to officially launch the campaign. The announcement will take place at 4:00 p.m. and will feature videos highlighting the campaign and a first voice speaker from the Rugby Nova Scotia community.
“The national and even international rugby community has got behind this project,” Hanratty says. “We’ve received videos from national team players from Ireland and Canada and provincial unions of Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta.”
RNS plans to issue a challenge to other sporting organizations across Nova Scotia to follow suit in making mental health support a priority among their leadership and players.
Bracelets can be purchased by contacting Provincial Coach, Jack Hanratty at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rugby Nova Scotia Tackles Mental Health
Monday, June 13, 4:00 p.m.
Sport Nova Scotia
3rd floor classroom
5516 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax
Event open to the public
Social media: #RugbyNSwewillListen
About Rugby Nova Scotia
Rugby Nova Scotia is dedicated to the advancement, encouragement, promotion, administration, development and coordination of the sport of rugby in Nova Scotia through progressive leadership in cooperation with its membership and in liaison with Rugby Canada.
About the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia
The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is a registered charity dedicated to improving the lives of Nova Scotians living with mental illness and their loved ones. The Foundation raises funds for vital programs and services that help make this possible, province-wide.
Jennifer Lewandowski, Communications Lead
Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia
Jack Hanratty, Provincial Coach
Rugby Nova Scotia