Former International Rugby Union Referee turned Farmer, Nigel has supported us for many years since revealing his own personal mental health struggles.
In a 2016 interview, Nigel said he may not have tried to take his own life if he had been more aware of the work of charities such as Samaritans Cymru, commenting “I’m proud to be supporting the Samaritans Cymru 2015-16 Impact Report for World Mental Health Day. Samaritans are there for those who are struggling to cope round the clock – we must try and support each other in our communities in the same way, by chatting to each other about how we are feeling and when we need some help."
In 2019, Nigel supported our Real People, Real Stories campaign - real stories from men who have been through tough times, encouraging other men to seek help. In an interview with talkSPORT he spoke of coming out and battling associated mental health problems.
“In my late teens, I started experiencing something I hadn’t experienced before. I was 19 and had a girlfriend but I felt attracted to men and it was an alien feeling. I was taught you get married and have a family. I thought ‘I can’t have people finding out, my parents wouldn’t accept me’."
"One night I left a note for my parents and if I hadn’t had been found and taken to hospital I wouldn’t be here. That’s why this Samaritans campaign is such an important thing. In the macho world of men and rugby, you think sharing struggles is a sign of weakness but it’s actually a sign of strength.”
“That is when my life was saved. I didn’t have a choice and I couldn’t choose my sexuality and accepting that was my biggest challenge. Accepting who I was as a person was more difficult than refereeing the Rugby World Cup final."
Nigel once again supported our Real People, Real Stories campaign in 2022 where we filmed him on his farm in South Wales. This phase of the campaign, supported by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust and the Scottish Government, aimed to reach men in rural communities who are struggling to cope and encourage them to seek help.
Don't be afraid to ask for help, because by doing that, it can prevent bigger problems down the line. People are there to help. Pick up the phone and contact Samaritans