Sir John Kirwan throws support behind mental health app to help truckies

Sir John Kirwan has thrown his weight behind truckies with mental health app Mentemia to help them stay the journey following a stressful year for the industry.

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It’s been a tough and stressful year for the trucking industry and Sir John’s throwing them a lifeline. Source: Seven Sharp

"For me, the most important thing is to normalise mental health," the mental health advocate and All Blacks legend told Seven Sharp.

Sir John said Mentemia is about providing people with "tools and techniques that you use on a daily basis to actually look after your mental health".

"If our big, strong truckies are doing it, and talking openly about mental health, that's going to break down so much more stigma, and for me, it's just practical tools that you can use."

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Sir John was initially going to sell the app to corporates, but decided to offer it free to all New Zealanders instead. Source: Breakfast

He said he specifically focused on truckies in order to normalise mental health and make it "part of our everyday conversation", despite their stereotypically hard exterior.

"It's not about hugging trees - it's about normalising mental health. We've all got mental health and if our strong, hardworking truck drivers can come out and say, 'Yeah, well, I use these tools and techniques', then we're going a long way.

"Our Everest is mental health, and what we need to be able to do is go, 'All of us need to get better at this and make it normal' so we can get stuck into some of our suicide rates, some of the things that are happening in our country that we want to be the best at rather than maybe not the best."

Sir John said while he hasn't had long conversations with truckies about the app, it does not mean they "don't have mental health or are unable to communicate on their own terms".

"If I just get a thumbs up about it, I'm happy."