Trent Dumont knows mental health doesn’t discriminate and says those closest to him were crucial when he hit "rock bottom".
“I had a run in with the law, and even though I knew that I was going to be okay, I still went through the courts and it went on for two-and-a-half years. In that time, I hit some real lows,” he explained to North Media.
“I hit rock bottom and was in a real bad spot.
“I went back home to Adelaide for my 21st, and it was the hardest week of my life because of everything that was going on.
“I cancelled all my plans and completely tried to shut myself off from friends and family. I was feeling so bad, and didn’t want to talk to anyone about it.
“But my family and loved ones threw me a surprise party, which made me step back and really realise the love and support that they had for me.
“Without even knowing it though, my family and friends and everyone else who was there for me, sort of saved my life a bit. It was a huge eye opener.
“It was that moment that made me realise how important it is to have people that will support you.”
Looking back, Dumont knows he should have reached out for help sooner.
“My issue was I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I didn’t understand what was going on, both in the legal system but also in relation to my mental health,” Dumont explained.
“I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions very well and I didn’t have any strategies in place to address what was going on.”
Dumont says a culmination of issues saw a rapid decline in his mental health.
“It wasn’t any one specific thing, it all kind of built up and I built it all up as well,” he said.
“So many things kept happening and it was a massive rollercoaster, and it just flattened me. I just had enough.”
Now, the 24-year-old wants to help others.
“Everyone can struggle with their mental health,” he said.
“Regardless of standing or profession, everyone has mental health and it can be poor at times and it can be good at times. I was a pretty naïve eighteen-year-old. I didn’t have much adversity, the hardest thing I faced when I was a kid was not making a sports team. But then at the end of my first year at North, I had a big sort of adversity. It was the hardest time of my life."
Since coming to terms with his struggles, Dumont is committed to learning more about mindfulness and mental health.
“I’ve spent the last couple of years really practicing mindfulness and got involved with the organization ‘I Am Worthmore’," he said.
“I recently became an ambassador for them, working to really break down the stigma that people have surrounding mental health.
“I just think that it’s important to be able to talk about it, and also be equipped with the skills and strategies to improve your own mental health and ask for help if you need it.”
Dumont discovered a simple daily routine can have a big impact.
“I practice mindfulness, which for me means meditation, twice a day for 20 to 60 minutes,” he added.
“Every morning before main training days along with a couple of the other boys, we devote some time to mindfulness.
“It’s really helped me in that I don’t think I will ever go back to the place that I was in a couple of years ago.
“Of course, mental health is a continuum and I have good days and poor days, but I now have the strategies and tools to pull myself away from slipping past poor into the really bad days.”
While Dumont has a new appreciation for mental health, he knows it's a lifelong commitment and a conversation society needs to continue having.
“There’s always room for improvement, I think that Australia and the AFL is getting better about discussing mental health, but we still have a long way to go.”