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CHARITY LIVE STREAM: Join Rhys Bennett today!

Defender hosts 12-hour live stream in aid of mental health charity MIND

20 January 2021

Make sure you keep one eye pointing towards defender Rhys Bennett’s social feeds this morning as he embarks on a 12-hour streaming marathon in aid of the mental health charity – Mind.

Due to start at 10am, the popular centre back is hoping that as many people as possible tune in to help him to raise awareness of mental health issues and, just as importantly, to raise vital funds for the EFL’s charity partner.

Join Rhys over on his live stream at twitch.tv/rhysbeno91

A veteran of such online money raising initiatives, having done a 24-hour charity stream in the summer, his session will include fun activities as well as a chance to grill him about his career, likes, dislikes … and possibly even his favourite flavour of crisps (a piece of information always eagerly sought after by United fans).

With the country in lockdown number three, and with mental health rightly such a big topic at the moment, we spoke to Rhys to get his thoughts on the task he’s about to begin.

“A few people, including footballers, are struggling with things at the moment and I suppose I want to show that mental health doesn’t really care what car you have or how much you earn, it can affect us all,” he said.

“With me being stuck in the house I felt it was the perfect way to get the message out there that it is ok to talk about how you’re feeling. Even for me, once I’ve done my exercise programme, I find that I’m sitting down every day and wondering what it is I’m going to do next.

“It’s such a strange feeling and it can drag people down when they don’t even realise that’s what is happening. This is a chance to interact with people again, which I really miss, and hopefully it’ll be a bit of fun as we also raise awareness of feelings of loneliness and depression.”

Join Rhys over on his live stream at twitch.tv/rhysbeno91

And his Twitch.tv channel provides the perfect platform for just such an endeavour.

“You know what, it really is weird,” he told us. “I talk to my family, but there are spells where I don’t talk to anyone else. Other people are in this situation and it’s hard, it really is. If anyone has any Netflix recommendations, please do shout out.

“One of the reasons why I got into streaming in the first place is that I love interacting with people. If I can do this stream, get a few people to join me and we all feel a little bit better for it – that has to be a good thing.

“Streaming is good for this because you can pretty much do anything. I’ll be playing a variety of games, there might be some Fifa, some Call of Duty, and I’ll just be chatting for a while.

“We’ll do a football quiz, with a signed copy of Football Manager for the winner, and I’ll play games against a few people if some challenges arise. It’s about raising money for Mind as well, so there’ll be a few raffles and I’ll auction a few things.”

Donate to Benno's Mind Charity fundraiser at https://streamlabs.com/rhysbeno91/tip

“As I’ve said, a big part of this is just providing something where people can interact and see they aren’t alone,” he commented. “But it’s also about raising money for a great charity.

“It’s the third lockdown and I’ve had such a lot of messages from people who have told me that the football has kept a lot of people going through this last year. So many people thanked me for that, and it actually made me stop and think about how hard it must be for people who aren’t able to get out, just leave the house or go to work.

“I reached out to a few people and spoke about the fact I wanted to do something for charity and everyone suggested Mind, because of the situation we’re all in at the moment. Once I looked into them, and what they do, it was an easy decision to make to choose them.

“In terms of my target, I was speaking to a couple of friends last night saying I don’t know what to do here. I knew I’d be speaking to you guys, and I’m so grateful for your support and coverage. I have to pluck a target or figure out of nowhere, it’s very hard … so I’m going to start at £500.

“I’m going to be donating myself. The link is open now and it will run until probably Friday, so if people miss the stream, we’ve got three days now, so hopefully we can raise that £500.”

Donate to Benno's Mind Charity fundraiser at https://streamlabs.com/rhysbeno91/tip

Already discussed is the need to raise awareness about mental health issues, something the big centre half admitted he was more than aware of.

“The need to break down these barriers has always been the case,” he said. “You think about people who have suffered in the past, like Gary Speed, and you realise how much it can affect anybody.

“People are suffering now, and I just feel the more awareness we can get for people to speak out, the better it is. Every person who speaks out after hearing someone else, well, that’s a success in my opinion.

“If just one person does that because of this then that will be fantastic. Even in football, mental health can be seen as a taboo subject. It’s seen as being, quote unquote, ‘a manly sport’ and you have to be aware of that.

“The thing is that one of the highest causes of death in men under 50 is suicide, and that’s an awful and ridiculous statistic. We saw quite a nice example of a player who wasn’t playing at his best and who was allowed to go home and miss a game at Carlisle United, and I feel like that was a really noble thing to do.

“But it feels like until something really drastic happens then mental health will always have a bit of ‘ah, get on with it’ around it. I really don’t think it should be like that, but as a man myself I know we tend to bottle up emotions as much as we can.

“You feel you have to be the pillar of strength for your family, or whoever, but the fact is that real strength comes when you share and people see that you have a wide range of emotions. That’s something I want to raise awareness of and the Mind charity definitely does that.”

Join Rhys over on his live stream at twitch.tv/rhysbeno91

So, on to the business of the day – and good luck to Rhys as he sets off on this 12-hour online journey.

“There’s nothing for me to be nervous about here, I’m looking forward to it,” he insisted. “I’ve got all my snacks, all my meals prepared, I’ve got some energy gels if I get really tired, but I’ll get through it, because it’s for a good cause.

“When I know I have to stream for 12-hours, there’s no excuse – you just have to get through it. All I want is to hit that £500 target, that’s the only thing I’m nervous about.”


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