Mental health is wealth. Amelia Kerr will attest to that.
Earlier this year, the White Ferns allrounder made the decision to step away from cricket in order to address her own personal struggles, making herself unavailable for the team's tour of the UK in September.
There had been thoughts that Kerr was taking a break from the sport due to burnout having been in the highest level of the sport from such a young age. However, speaking to Newstalk ZB's Jason Pine, Kerr said that wasn't the case.
"I think I would have been fine to play the games," Kerr reflected. "It was going away, dealing with bubbles and MIQ and being in your thoughts. I needed that time at home and I'm glad I took that time out.
"I just see it like an injury; if you're injured you go to the physio and you take the time you need to recover, and I think that's the same for mental health. I'm very grateful for the support from New Zealand Cricket and the NZCPA in allowing me to make that decision, but I'm very much looking forward to being back this summer."
The 21-year-old revealed that this wasn't the first time in her career she had troubles with her mental health, admitting she struggled while playing in last year's Big Bash League in Australia and being in that bubble. After coming back home and enjoying her summer, Kerr felt like she had put the troubles behind her. However, the issues came creeping back and she found herself back where she started.
"It had been a tough few months before the UK tour was about to start; it had been a pretty tough year for me mentally," she said. "I'd been dealing with a few things personally and I really struggled with that. I was in no place fit enough to go over the England; I thought the best place for me to be was with my family and friends at home where I have a great support network. I was able to see my psychologist weekly – who I've been seeing for over a year now – and I think it was a time where I had to put myself first.
"From an outside perspective, life should be amazing. So, I thought for me being sad, that it would come across as ungrateful. But everybody feels things; sometimes you can't control that and a big thing for me was understanding why I felt this way and full accepting it. I think for a while I didn't do that, but fully accepting it and allowing myself to feel the emotions I feel has been an important part in getting to where I am now."
With the New Zealand summer approaching and, with it, the Women's Cricket World Cup, Kerr said she was ready to get back into the game – with her sights set on being at her best for the tournament in March next year.
"Cricket has been a love of mine for as long as I can remember, so there was never a question of if I will come back or not. I just needed that time off to work through things and I have been in the environment for a long time at a young age, but I just needed that time to be at home. Covid makes travelling a lot more difficult at the moment too, so that had a factor in it as well.
"The key message from me is just be kind to people, because you never know what someone is going through.
"I encourage people to go and get help, because it is so OK to talk about it. It is hard, but once you learn how to, it is therapy because holding it in all yourself if a tough battle."