Breaking Down Walls

Breaking Down Walls

Having recently returned from a historic tour to Japan, Linda Djougang has become the latest ambassador for the Tackle Your Feelings campaign.

Linda, who arrived in Ireland with her father as a nine-year-old, shares her story that highlights the importance of showing the vulnerable side of your personality and prioritising self-worth when it comes to mental health.

Animated by Kavaleer Productions, the video explores Linda’s unusually quick introduction and development in rugby at both an amateur and professional level, which led to some challenges. Through a journey of acceptance, self-belief, confidence and a vital support network, Linda credits the people around her who believed in her at a time when she lacked self-belief and put-up walls, helping her accept herself and become an inspiration to the next generation all at once.

In a sport associated by many with toughness and an absence of vulnerability amongst players, Linda encourages everyone (athletes or not) everywhere to empower themselves and break down those walls. She asks people to open themselves up to support because people care and are there to help, even when you least expect it.  For Linda, asking for help is a sign of strength and has been crucial in her development as a rugby player, and in all aspects of her life.

Speaking about the #ImTakingControl campaign, Ireland Rugby Player and Tackle Your Feelings ambassador, Linda Djougang, said: “I’m delighted to be involved in a campaign such as Tackle Your Feelings which empowers people to speak about their own experiences with feelings of worry or self-doubt in an open and relatable way. Often rugby players are perceived to be thick-skinned and to never be impacted by a lack of confidence or self-belief, but it is important to speak about those real and tougher experiences that can inspire others to find the tools to help develop their own mental health and wellbeing, improve their confidence and chase their own goals. If we can help one person to understand more about how they’re feeling, it has made an impact.”

Through the TYF app and website, users can access the tools they need at the right time for them, with featured sections that can help them identify their own Social Support, Positive Relationships and work on their own self-belief through Confidence and Optimism. Other sections include Happiness/Sadness, Sleep, Self-Care, Resilience, Anger, Relaxations, and Self-Awareness. The app’s mindfulness section allows users to choose from a selection of mindfulness exercises to help them identify and proactively manage their feelings.

Anthony Brennan, CEO of Zurich Ireland said: “Linda’s story demonstrates how real strength comes from showing vulnerability. In sharing her story, Linda inspires by leading by example and portrays an accurate measure of courage. We hope that by sharing her own journey, Linda will provide many with the hope and strength to take their own steps to take control and proactively manage their feelings.”

Tackle Your Feelings Campaign Manager at RPI, Hannah McCormack, said: “We are delighted to have Linda as our newest ambassador for the #ImTakingControl campaign. Everyone experiences moments of low self-confidence or an absence of self-belief and for Linda to provide a real, authentic account of how she learned to go out of her comfort zone, seek that positive support and improve her own mental wellbeing whilst setting and achieving such an amazing goal, will be a powerful message for many. We know Linda’s story will help empower people to take down those walls, seek help when needed, speak more opening about their vulnerabilities and also be a beacon of support to others who are finding out who they are or trying new things.”

Tackle Your Feelings is a mental health and wellbeing campaign, run by Rugby Players Ireland and funded by the Z Zurich Foundation, that encourages people to ‘Take Control’ of their mental wellbeing using principles from both sport and positive psychology. The TYF app encourages people to be proactive about their mental wellbeing, with research revealing that less than half the people on the island of Ireland (48%) don’t actively manage their mental wellbeing as part of their daily routine. Users can choose the Tackle Your Feelings resources they feel they need at the time. The app and website also feature sections on Relationships, Confidence, Happiness/Sadness, Sleep, Self-Care, Resilience, Anger, Relaxation, Optimism and Self-Awareness. It also has a mindfulness section where users can select from several mindfulness exercises.

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