An interview with Adam Howard, Hitchin Rugby Club
Like all of us 28 year old Adam’s routine has been completely disrupted over the past few months and having experienced mental health struggles in the past, Adam reflects on how the Lockdown has been affecting him.
“I think of myself as a positive person, I’m always out and about and my lifestyle is really active. Being cut off from being able to coach and play rugby, as well as not being able to go to work; I really struggled feeling isolated from people, my everyday life during Lockdown and my mental wellbeing started to become affected.”
Adam plays, and coaches, for Hitchin Rugby Club – one of the sports organisations who use an online Mental Health tracking tool to check in regularly on their colleagues and team mates. As a busy, active and outgoing person Adam had acknowledged the friendly online check-ins in the past, and responded positively without much afterthought, but it wasn’t until lockdown began that he came to realise the full benefits of the reach outs.
Within the first two weeks of Lockdown, Adam received a check-in from the GoVox platform, “it was really casual” he commented “but it made all the difference because it gave me a tool to express my feelings; it was the open conversation I needed during a time where communication had been so drastically changed”.
“I responded to the check-in – it was almost a bit of a rant to get things off my chest – and just actively putting my thoughts down in one place, I felt better. The next day I got a call from someone at the Rugby Club, and that chat made the world of difference. From then I carried on using the platform to log my feelings for the next few weeks, and now I’m feeling so much more positive”.
Having previously struggled with mental wellbeing, Adam knows that having open conversations like this can’t be underestimated. He believes that being able to express his feelings, and be heard, has made all the difference to being able to tackle lockdown and the challenges it has brought.
“The great thing about GoVox is that you don’t have to specifically ask for help, which can be a huge barrier – this cuts straight through that. You know that you’re going to be heard by the right people – it really is a weight off your shoulders, someone always has my back.”
Adam believes that this is a vital tool; particularly with males who may struggle to express themselves openly. He commented that the “proactivity of Hitchin Rugby club in being open about wanting to support the mental health of its players really is invaluable, not enough people pay enough heed to the simplest of opportunities to look after their teams”.