26 Jan 2022

An inspiring story for Mental Health Week

“I admitted that I have depression and I want help, it’s what I’ve got, I got help because I’ve been honest on how I feel, and now I feel so much better for it.” These are the stark words of Ben Nutt, the London Irish Foundation’s apprentice coach, which prove that addressing a mental health problem and seeking advice and help, can have a transformative impact on the quality of the sufferer’s life.

Ben grew up near Reading in Berkshire where his school days were tough.  ““I suffer from ADHD very mildly and ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) so it was a struggle as a kid growing up.”  Such support as was available didn’t help improve Ben’s lot in those formative years.

Secondary level education followed and life at college did not get better for Ben.  There were times when he found himself in such a dark space that he considered suicide.  “Thanks to my Mum’s love and support, I survived,”  he admits.

Fortunately, Ben’s mother heard about the HITZ scheme and enrolled him on it.  He settled into the programme and worked hard, giving it everything he could.  Such was his success, he ended up representing London Irish at a HITZ Awards ceremony in the Houses of Parliament where he received the ‘Breakthrough Achiever’s Award’. 

Ben credits HITZ with saving his life and providing him with a second chance.  “The HITZ programme made me love rugby,” he says, “I joined the Foundation’s mixed ability rugby team with people from some SEN schools who soon became my team-mates and friends.”

Such was the impact on his self-confidence that Ben was able to take up a role at Primark while continuing to work with the Foundation as a freelance rugby coach.

Last summer an opportunity arose for Ben to join the Foundation as an apprentice coach.  Let him tell the story, “An opportunity became available to bring me into the Foundation as an apprentice. The managers sat me down and explained the position and what the requirements would be, along with my commitments with Coach Core, the Foundation’s coaching partner. They asked me to go away and think about it. I didn’t need to, I knew it was what I wanted!”

Click on the link below to listen to Bens honest and open audio podcast



Commenting on Ben’s progress, Joseph Pegg, the Foundation Manager, says, “We are so proud of Ben’s journey and what he has achieved.  We hope that his story will be an inspiration to others to consider the HITZ scheme and see if it can help change their lives.”
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