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Kiwi UFC star Shane Young uses post-match victory speech to highlight NZ's youth suicide problem

Kiwi UFC fighter Shane Young has won praise not just for his victory at yesterday's UFC 234 in Melbourne, but for his addressing of mental health in his post-fight victory speech.

Young, 25, defeated American Austin Arnett by a unanimous decision in the pair's featherweight clash, before addressing the sold-out Rod Laver Arena crowd and the hundreds of thousands watching around the world, encouraging those struggling to reach out for help.

"I just want to let everyone know back home in Aotearoa we have got the highest youth suicide rates and to all you kids, anyone that's listening right now, I know what you're going through just reach out to someone, talk," he said.

"It's all good, we don't have to be strong. You can be strong by reaching out.

The 25-year-old is set take on US rival Austin Arnett at UFC 234 in Melbourne. Source: Te Karere

"We're a community as people, you know, so you gotta use those people around you. I love you guys OK."

Young, who was forced to take time away from fighting late last year due to his own mental health issues, also urged those struggling to contact him on Instagram, adding "I'll help you out."

The Napier native's words were met with positive responses across social media, with one user tweeting:

Both Kiwi fighters fight out of Auckland's City Kickboxing gym and will fight at UFC 234 in Melbourne. Source: 1 NEWS

"Not sure if you guys are fans of MMA or not but this dude (a competitive fighter at the very highest level) had some words that can't be repeated often enough," said John McKinstry.

"Someone doing what Shane Young did and giving that message after stepping into the cage is awesome."

Yesterday's win sees Young's record sit at two wins from his three fights in the UFC.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7)
Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz
What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)
Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
Healthline: 0800 611 116
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
Safe to talk National Sexual Harm Helpline - 0800 044 334, www.safetotalk.nz
Victim Support National 24 Hour Helpline 0800 842 846, www.victimsupport.org.nz
Rape Crisis National 24 Hour Helpline 0800 883300

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.


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