Feel a bit off?

It’s more common than you think.

1 in 5 Kiwis experience some form of stress, anxiety or depression. The rugby community is no different. HeadFirst can help. 

Scroll below to get started and hear players talk about their experiences. 


What is mental fitness?

Find out what mental fitness is all about, why it’s important and the best ways to look after it. 

Finding things tough?

Life not feeling so great at the moment? Find out about the struggles we face and see how you can tackle them.

Worried about how you feel?

Been feeling down, anxious or on edge lately?
Take a test to find out more and figure out your next step.

Coaches & Caregivers

Learn what to look out for, how to provide support and look after yourself at the same time.

Help a mate

Worried about a mate? Not sure how to help?
Find out how to start a conversation and ask if they’re ok.

Getting help

Need extra support? Not sure where to go?
Find out how to get help and support with how you’re feeling.

Talking mental fitness with the Canes

Should we spend more time on our mental fitness? The Hurricanes think so. Listen to Nehe Milner-Skudder and Dane Coles share why they think it's important.

Watch Video

“I’m talking about it”

Hear players and others share their thoughts on mental fitness and some of the ups and downs we can all experience. Featuring HeadFirst ambassadors Nehe Milner-Skudder, Ruby Tui and Keven Mealamu.

Strategies & Tips

Looking after our mental fitness and wellbeing is just as important when things are going well in our lives. Have a look at the 8 strategies below to help you manage your mental fitness.

Managing Stress

Stress can affect many areas of our lives. Take some time to learn about the things that cause you stress and brainstorm some skills that might help you cope.

Exercising Regularly

Being physically active is proven to help us feel better and decrease stress. This isn’t just limited to trainings and gym workouts. Other options include walking, yoga, swimming and social sports teams.

Slow Things Down

Research has shown the huge benefits mindfulness can have on our wellbeing. Slowing things down, taking notice and appreciating the small things are great ways to support your mental fitness.

Looking Out for Others

Helping and giving your time to others is an amazing way of making yourself feel good. This could be as simple as asking someone how they are, helping out within your community or helping a mate with a chore.

Having Positive Support People

Having people around you who are looking out for you and that you trust is really important. These are the people that can help you out when things might be tough and boost your mood when you need it.

Eating Healthy

Fuelling our bodies with nourishing food and limiting caffeine and sugar improves our energy levels and supports body recovery. Make eating well a priority.

Prioritising Sleep

Good sleep is a key part of living well, most people need between 7-9 hours and there are so many ways to help improve your sleep. Click here to learn more.

Making Time For Yourself

Doing things you enjoy and giving yourself time to relax is a great way to look after your mental fitness. Make time for activities you like doing such as reading, music, spending time with friends or playing another sport.

Need Help?


Nationwide 24-hour, 7 days a week counselling service.

Free to call 0800 543 354.

Depression Helpline

Talk to a trained counsellor who can discuss your situation and find you the right support/tautoko. Free to call 24/7 on 0800 111 757.

Anxiety Line

Provide support and help around understanding anxiety and peoples experiences. Free call available 24/7 on 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389).

The Lowdown

A website for young New Zealanders to help understand depression and anxiety from their own perspectives. Get in touch with a trained counsellor by free txt (5626).


Free, confidential and non-judgemental youth service. Free to call, 0800 376 633 or free text 234. You can also email them at talk@youthline.co.nz

1737 Need to talk?

A free call and text service for New Zealanders feeling down, anxious, overwhelmed or just need to chat to someone. 

What’s Up

Free phone counselling service for young people, 7 days a week from 1pm to 11pm. They also have a free online chat 7-11pm every day. Free to call 0800 WHATSUP (0800 942 8787).