Melbourne Stars get in the right headspace

The Melbourne Stars are putting mental health in the spotlight this season, announcing a partnership with headspace, a national organisation helping 12 - 25 year olds going through a tough time.

Melbourne Stars and Australian cricketers, John Hastings and Clint McKay, both know what it's like to struggle with mental health at times during their professional careers, and are sharing their stories in an effort to get people talking about issues that often remain silent.

"As professional athletes we're often under extreme pressure and scrutinized for our performance - this can really take a toll on you mentally," said Hastings.

"Cricket in particular, while it's a team sport, there is a huge emphasis on individual performance and a lot of time away from home and loved ones. To be your best on and off the field, it's important to keep on top of your mental wellbeing."

"Like most cricketers, I've been through some pretty big highs and just as big lows in my career, it's learning how to cope with them and most importantly that it's ok to talk to someone about how you're feeling."

"The other important factor I learnt through my own journey is keeping an eye out for someone else who might be having a rough time. This doesn't just apply to me and my cricketing teammates - but in life in general."

headspace CEO, Chris Tanti, said he hopes they can work together to help to encourage young people to get help for problems early.

"The situation in recent weeks with Jonathan Trott has given much needed attention to mental health in sport. It's also highlighted that there's still a lot of misinformation that exits when it comes to mental health problems like depression."

"We know that athletes, who are under pressure to perform at the highest level in sport, are more vulnerable to suffer mental health problems. And it's not something that's talked about enough."

"It's great that Melbourne Stars have recognised mental health as a high priority, not just in the sporting arena but for its wider community of fans too," said Mr Tanti.

Research shows that by the age of 18 one in five people have experienced depression, however 75 per cent of young people struggling don't get the help they need.

headspace will also work with the Stars players to help them recognise early signs that something's not right with their team mates, how to approach team mates about concerns as well as develop skills for coping with high pressure and stressful situations.

Mr Tanti said that it's a great opportunity to reach an audience who could benefit from the services that headspace offers.

"We want families and teenagers to feel okay to talk about things that are bothering them and have each other backs. If further support is needed, then they should know that headspace is a youth friendly place to go," said Mr Tanti.

Melbourne Stars CEO, Clint Cooper said the Stars are extremely proud to partner with headspace.

"Through our matches and community events we see a huge opportunity to actively encourage young people to look after themselves and their mates," Cooper said.

"As a sporting team we have the chance to influence many fans, and spread messages far and wide - we want people to know that sometimes even the toughest people struggle and it takes real guts to take back control."

"The partnership is an ideal fit for the Stars and we are extremely excited as a team with the opportunity to highlight the important issue of mental health and make a real difference in the lives of young Victorians."

headspace media contact:

Carly Wright