NSW Blues allrounder Moises Henriques has opened up on his battle with mental illness ahead of The Chappell Foundation’s ‘Sports Stars Sleepout’ that aims to raise funds and awareness for youth homelessness.
Henriques said on social media last night he is a "long time suffer of mental illness" having spent the past dozen years playing professional cricket for his country and all around the world.
The 31-year-old stepped away from the game during last summer’s KFC Big Bash League before returning to cricket without the captaincy and a refreshed state of mind.
Reflecting on his experiences, Henriques has reached out hoping to shed light on the crippling issue by supporting the ‘Sports Stars Sleepout’, which will see 21 Australian sporting personalities sleep under the stars at the SCG on Sunday.
"I’ve been a long time sufferer of mental illness," Henriques said.
"During this time, I was extremely fortunate to have amazing support and love from family and friends.
"Add to that the huge backing from my employers and the huge amount of resources we have at hand as professional athletes to guide me through my recovery.
"It dawned on me during my struggle, how would someone cope with mental health challenges without these support structures in place to help them.
"No family or friends, no finance or support from employers – I have no idea how’d you survive.
"Young boys and girls have to go through this everyday – they often end up with addiction problems or homeless."
Henriques spoke about his time away in March, saying he hopes the spell would prolong his cricket career.
"I feel much better than what I was over that Christmas and New Year period, at that stage I just needed some time to get a few things right and get back into my processes," Henriques said.
"With a couple of weeks away I've started to feel much improved and in a much clearer head space.
"I've played over 380 professional games of cricket now – T20, first class and one-day cricket – and it's the first time I've ever taken a break from cricket other than injury.
"There are challenges in every walk of life, every person has a different journey. It's not just professional cricketers, whether it's a professional athlete or as a journalist or whatever it might be, there are challenges that are thrown at us in life situations that everyone comes across.
"Everyone has a different way of dealing with those challenges. When you've spent such a long time in the one workplace, you just start to, I guess, sometimes you might go away from what works and you find yourself in a place where you don't want to be."
Henriques will line up for the Blues again this summer without the captaincy, with those duties remaining with his replacement Peter Nevill under new coach Phil Jaques.
Henriques’ NSW teammates Mitchell Starc, Sean Abbott and Steve O’Keefe, NSW Breakers Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner, former Australia captain Lisa Sthalekar and Greg and Trevor Chappell are involved in the event.
Test great Greg Chappell, who launched 'The Chappell Foundation' 16 months ago, says he's been blown away by the support Sunday's event has received and hopes it can make a difference in communities around Australia.
"As much as we want to raise money, I'm just as keen to raise awareness – I'd like to think we can make a real difference by getting more people aware of what is a huge issue."