since i was a kid, i always felt like i didn’t belong. i seemed to care about things few others cared about – politics never interested me, nor did the news. i was more interested in the relationships i had with others and understanding why they are the way they are. psychology has always fascinated me, but i never wanted to become a psychologist – i couldn’t comprehend charging someone to listen to their problems when i would happily do that for free.
i followed my passion for both soccer and psychology, moving to the US where i spent the next 6 years – four of which on a soccer scholarship at Kennesaw State University. in 2015, i graduated with honours in psychology and a minor in coaching, something which didn’t seem possible after hitting rock bottom on february 15 - a rock bottom that had me considering ending my life. a series of events contributed to this dark night of the soul, the primary catalyst being the tearing of my second anterior cruciate ligament (acl).
from this experience, however, i learnt that it means little to be able to communicate your struggles if those around you don’t know how to support you when you tell them you aren’t okay. because of this, i volunteered as a crisis text line counsellor for 8 months – helping people move from a hot crisis moment to a cool calm mental state. the skills i developed and practiced in this training would later be the basis of the work i am doing today.
during my time in the states, i also volunteered at a children’s centre, worked as a waitress at a gastropub, and coached girls’ soccer. the primary focus of all these vocations being building and sustaining relationships. something i have since spent the past 6 years experimenting, tailoring, and fine-tuning.
so what am i doing today? while still maintaining my passion for soccer and desire to influence others, i’m currently captaining a wnpl team at salisbury inter and coaching a u15 girls’ soccer team. i continue to not only share my story through my writing and through conversations i have as a waitress and supervisor, but i am also sharing my story through public speaking at schools, clubs, and workplaces. in addition to public speaking, i’m designing personalised sessions in which to strengthen connections and overall team culture, something i have been doing over the past few years. and my latest venture entails a 2x2 hour module training in which individuals learn how to better support those who are struggling.
"i’ve always believed mental health, and society in general, puts too much responsibility on the individual to resolve their own problems. so instead of focusing on the individual, i choose to focus on the environment – creating environments in which individuals feel safe and supported to discuss their struggles. at the heart of illness is I – at the heart of wellness is we. so instead of self-help, i choose to focus on how we can help-others – building safe environments to facilitate better connections."