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Kitto features in new RPA campaign

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The Rugby Players' Association (RPA) has launched #LiftTheWeight, a new campaign that aims to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

With its drive campaign, the RPA aims to offer the necessary tools and support to enable its members to enjoy a healthy and fulfilling life, both on the field and off it.

Jono Kitto is one of the #LiftTheWeight ambassadors.  The Leicester Tigers scrum-half has shared his own personal experience of mental health in a series of candid interviews. Watch Kitto’s interviews on the RPA YouTube channel.
The campaign also includes interviews with James Haskell (Wasps and England), Nolli Waterman (England Women), Kane Palma-Newport (Bath Rugby), Netani Talei (Harlequins), Ollie Phillips (former England 7s), Matt Hankin (Saracens) and former England internationals Jonny Wilkinson and Duncan Bell.

The interviews will be available to view at the new #LiftTheWeight hub on the RPA website, alongside other resources, links and advice relating to a range of mental health issues. The hub will be accessible to both professional players and the general public.

The campaign is also comprised of an in-club resilience training programme and the RPA’s 24/7 confidential counselling service, provided by Cognacity.

For more information, visit: www.theRPA.co.uk/lifttheweight

One in four people in the UK will be affected by mental illness in any year, with the most common issues being depression and anxiety.
Often the pressures and strains that can act as a catalyst to mental health issues are magnified for professional sports people.
Despite a number of high-profile elite athletes speaking out about their own struggles with mental health, the stigma around these issues remains.

Following a previous RPA campaign involving Bell, there was more than a 130 per cent increase in the numbers of players contacting the RPA’s confidential counselling service. In 2016, more players contacted the service than ever before.

Damian Hopley, RPA group chief executive, said: “Mental health issues can affect anybody at any time and, as I know from my own early retirement from playing, rugby players are no exception.
“We’re extremely grateful to our ambassadors for their openness and honesty in speaking out about their experiences of a subject that still carries stigma throughout society.
“We believe this campaign will provide essential support to any of our members who need it, but will also inspire the wider public to be open about mental health and seek help if they are struggling in any way.”