Former British Lion, Dafydd James, shared insights into his ongoing battle with low self-esteem and poor mental health in an emotional talk as guest speaker at Swansea Bay Business Club’s October event, at Parc Y Scarlets Llanelli.
Dafydd James was the Club’s guest on Thursday 17 October, at the Llanelli event, where he shared his experience with depression and anxiety, and his role as Ambassador for Welsh mental Health Charity Hafal where he campaigns to improve the lives of people across Wales who are affected by mental illness.
Dafydd has, since his youth, represented his country on every level possible in rugby, from Wales Youth and Wales Students, to becoming a dazzling Wales Sevens player. He was the first player to score 25 tries in the Heineken Cup European Competition, attaining 48 caps for the Wales Senior team, and becoming a British Lion. Following the success of his playing career, Dafydd is now a respected rugby pundit who uses his platform to raise awareness of the mental health issues found in sport.
Alan Brayley, Acting President of Swansea Bay Business Club, said: “Dafydd’s talk was by far the most moving I have experienced during my time with Swansea Bay Business Club. I’m sure I speak for everyone in the audience when I say how full of admiration I was at his courage in expressing, with such searing honesty, the struggles he has gone through, and continues to go through, in his life. His talk highlighted the importance of being open about the issues that bruise us, throughout our professional lives and our personal lives, and the importance of looking around us, at family, friends and colleagues to make sure we notice their struggles and offer meaningful support.
“I feel strongly that the tide is turning when it comes to society’s approach to mental health issues. It is very positive that this topic is being championed, for example, by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, and by Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge. And people like Dafydd are also leading the way on this, to ensure any stigma that surrounds mental health issues falls away. Let’s all play our part in ensuring that people no longer feel the need to suffer in silence and let us make sure we all foster a culture of openness, honestly and non-judgemental support within our workplaces and beyond. It was clear, from the reaction of the audience, that Dafydd is by no means alone when it comes to facing mental health issues. We are all vulnerable at certain times in our lives, and we all have a part to play in bringing about important culture changes that can help us all.”
This lunch event was sponsored by Ministry of Furniture. The next Swansea Bay Business Club breakfast, with Dr Ben Broadbent, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, goes ahead on Friday 15 November and is free to attend. Places can be booked at www.swanseabaybusinessclub.com/events/