Members of the Sydney Thunder will be in Bega next week for a special T20.
Bega and Tathra Cricket Clubs will host members of the Thunder for coaching clinics and cameo appearances in a one-off Valley big bash.
The event is the result of a partnership between the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) and the NSW Baggy Blues.
Bowler Chris Green and wicketkeeper Jay Lenton have been confirmed so far – in addition to former NSW Blues head coach Trent Johnston – but there are hopes to get more Thunder players down.
The visit is not just about cricket, but also about encouraging others to speak up about mental health issues.
Tathra Cricket Club president Adam Blacka said if he thought a teammate was struggling, he would ask them if they wanted to talk.
“If it’s sitting down in the shed or sitting down having a beer, whatever is comfortable with them, just try to get them to open up if they can,” he said.
“One of the hardest things, I know as a man, is opening up and talking – it can be very difficult.
“The easier we can get them to open up, the better.”
Mr Blacka said RAMHP offered mental health training and he hoped other sporting clubs would have a few members that would undertake that training too so they would have the skills to notice when someone may be struggling and need help.
RAMHP rural mental health coordinator Jen Keioskie said sport was good for everyone, and not just to improve people’s physical health.
When people played sport it produced positive chemicals in the body such as dopamine, she said, so it was very good for anxiety and depression.
“But anything that brings people together improves mental health,” she said.
There will be a trivia night on sport and mental health on February 20 at Bega’s Commerical Hotel.
There will be coaching clinics for kids on Thursday at the Bega Public School before another clinic at George Griffin Oval from 3.30-4.30pm.
The T20 runs from 4.45pm with gold coin entry.
There will be food and entertainment at the ground on the afternoon.