Rural Mental Health

Before New Zealand went into lockdown, Sam "Lashes" Casey spoke to a few famous Kiwi faces to find out how they deal with tough times, as part of The Country's #kickoffyourboots campaign for rural mental health.

In the third video of the series, Lashes caught up with All Black Anton Lienert-Brown, to find out how he takes care of his mental health.

Kick off your boots with Lashes - Sam Cane
Kick off your boots with Lashes: Toni Street - Part One

When Lienert-Brown started playing professional rugby, he soon found it all- consuming.

"Rugby was my whole life ... I thought I had to do everything right, to a point where it all became too much."


Lienert-Brown said finding balance in his life helped him with the game, and he now planned his week in advance.

"I'll have golf in there, I have times where I go get massages, I do visualisation and those are my times for balance. So I consciously put that into my week."

He also found it important to take a complete break, such as a dinner date or a trip to the movies said Lienert-Brown.

Having a small circle of people he could trust also helped. Lienert-Brown said he relied on his parents, siblings and close friends.

"Those are people I know I can go to. Those are people I know I can trust. And more importantly - their opinions matter to me most."

This group of trusted people was particularly important when facing media and fan scrutiny.

"Initially when those bad comments would come my way, that really hurt - but I knew I had to learn a way to make sure those opinions don't matter to me. And that's when I got told that it's important you have that small circle [of people]."

Lienert-Brown's hard work shutting out the negativity of others over the years had paid off, although he admitted he was "still trying to master it."


"I'm at the point now where those opinions actually don't matter to me at all, and opinions of my closest people in that circle do."

Another lesson was learning to open up, share feelings and not be afraid of judgement, said Lienert-Brown.

"When I did that - it was just a weight off my shoulders. I think it's really important that we talk as men - and you express your feelings - because that way you can be yourself. You can reach your full potential."

Ultimately Lienert-Brown found that working on his mental health and learning to be himself helped him both off the field - and on.

"I'm probably at one of the happiest points of my life and I'm playing the best rugby because of that."