By Harry Upton

‘Opening Up Cricket’ launched their new website last Saturday, coinciding perfectly with world mental health day.

The Merseyside based campaign aim to increase awareness of mental health across the UK, through the use of cricket as well as social media.

The scheme was originally started in 2014 after the death of wicket keeper Alex Miller, with the entire club wanting to do something to honour him and try and help other men across the country who also may struggle with mental health.

Mental health is a huge unspoken issue in the UK with 2,878,636 million people contacting mental health services between April 2019 and March 2020.

So, with the lunch of sites like ‘Opening Cricket’, there are now more places for people to go and talk through their issues.

Their new sleek website offers an easy way to put out all the work they do clearly across one site.

The ‘Opening Up Cricket’ campaign offers something for everyone, whether you’re into cricket or not.

Mark, who runs the charity, is a regular poster on their socials with things such as websites, podcasts and even small messages to keep users feeling engaged.

They tackle the issue head-on, offering free webinar sessions for cricket clubs, alongside Cricket Scotland, to raise the issue across the game.

They also started their own branded merchandise, including key rings, socks, and hats whereby the money raised, along with fundraisers, is used to boost the campaign further.

The ‘Opening Up Cricket’ group’s podcast; going upstairs,  discuss mental health within the sport as well as in the UK on the whole.

When asked about the work opening up cricket does, campaign organiser, Mark Boynes said: ‘The basics of what we do normally is go out to clubs and do sessions on mental health well being and mental health fitness, we then try to encourage to keep these conversations going online.’

Covid-19 had made it harder for campaigns like ‘Opening Up Cricket’ to grow and reach a larger audience but with the help of free online seminars and a constant interaction between the campaign leaders and consumers, the team seems to be making the best of a bad situation.

The pandemic also massively affected the cricket season, ‘there was no social side for players. We didn’t get the full 6 months of interactions with friends that we usually experience.’

Because the virus has affected multiple elements of everyone’s life, ‘we now have a duty to support each other through these uncertain times’. Therefore, making mental health an even larger scale problem for campaigns like ‘Opening Up Cricket’ to tackle.

The ‘Opening Up Cricket’ campaign helps multiple cricket clubs across the UK to work on their individual performances.

In such a pressured sport like cricket whereby one mistake can cost you the game, mental health is a big issue as a slight lapse in concentration can turn a match on it’s head.

Therefore, putting a massive strain on the players mental health.

However Mark is confident that the work they are doing in a cricket environment can also apply to other contexts. ‘All concepts of what we do and create can apply to any sport or walk of life. When looking at things like mindfulness and gratitude, we might present it through cricket but it can be used in other ways to be relevant to everyone’s lives’.

The content that ‘Opening Up Cricket’ are putting out is always top quality, and with the help of the new website they should be able to grow even further and reach their targets of expansion.

‘We want all four corners of the UK covered as well as an extra awareness in our media campaigns’.

With more than 3,900 followers already on Instagram and the support of famous cricket stars such as Joshua Richards and Anthony Alleyne, the campaign is heading in the right direction.

The site has received lots of positive feedback which makes their goals seem achievable and that the extra work this team does will make a difference to the masses.

Check their website out at; https://www.bing.com/search?q=opening+up+cricket&cvid=2e94f49d2c4f4e7fadeb293517aa48e2&FORM=ANAB01&PC=U531

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