With the Paria owner being personally affected by mental health issues, we are always looking for opportunities to promote a positive dialogue around conditions arising from emotional stress, and mental illness.
The guys at Looseheadz have made it their business to remove the stigma around these conversations and shine the spotlight on how these challenges arise in sport.
We've teamed up with them to produce some "rugby cycling kit" to continue their journey, and with some of their team planning to ride Lands End to John O'Groats on a single speed and complete the North Coast 500 the time was ripe to get some kit to rep their message.
Their story will resonate with a lot of people, and hopefully provide some inspiration wherever you need it most...
Like all good rugby stories, this one starts in the club bar.
During the 2017 Lions tour, and spurred on by Mark’s decision to hang up his boots for (probably) the last time, the three of us were left to reminisce about the people we had met during our respective rugby careers. What became apparent was that whilst many of them were in good physical condition, there were many who struggled off the pitch.
The problem however was that whilst we knew how to help, or get help for those with a physical injury, we had little more than “do you want another pint?” in our armoury for those struggling with their mental health. It was this feeling of impotence that led us to the belief that we needed to do something...anything.
Being three blokes, we then did very little for two years. However, every time we raised the idea around friends and family, the feedback was overwhelmingly that rugby was crying out for an organisation such as LooseHeadz. So after plenty of procrastination, we finally got to work.
18 months later, and after plenty of failing, we can now count nearly 50,000 supporters across our social platforms, 24 ambassadors across professional rugby and a reach that extends across the globe.
We are supported by partners such as Stonewall, Oddballs, Team Mental Health, Fab Rugby, Docia Sport to who help leverage our message and drive profile of our activity.
LooseHeadz is a movement.
Our mission is simple; use our platform to find new and innovative ways to advance the dialogue around mental health. The solution, however, is much more complex.
We believe that by building a community, united around a shared mission, we can begin to turn the tide against poor mental health. We do this by creating rugby clothing designed to get people talking. Working closely with our exceptional partners, we strive for diversity and a positive impact on our communities in everything we do.
We have set ourselves the simple, yet ambitious goal of placing a ‘LooseHead’ in each of the 1,800 rugby clubs in the UK (and hopefully one day beyond). This mental health lead can then push our prevent, promote, educate and signpost process within their own club. TO help us we have recruited a willing bunch of ambassadors from Premiership Rugby and beyond: Denny Solomona, Tom Cruse, Josh Matavesi, Abi Burton , Eloise Hayward and more - the list keeps growing
LooseHeadz focus can then be on providing the ‘LooseHead’ with the resources to promote messaging supported by our mental health partners, and push our Foundation’s initiatives.
We will never know if we have achieved our mission, and that is why we will never stop!