A FORMER Hermitage Academy pupil and promising entrepreneur has opened up on his battle to keep on top of his mental health.

Danny Campbell, whose successful architecture business HOKO launched in 2019 and is now valued at £15 million, has spoken about his anxiety and the impact of physical activity in helping him overcome his struggles.

The 31-year-old plays amateur rugby for Glasgow High Kelvinside (GHK) which has just entered a new charity partnership with See Me, Scotland's national programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination.

And the side's star player, originally from Rhu, says that the sport has been vital for maintaining his mental health.

Danny has praised his GHK team-mates and colleagues for creating a progressive sporting environment when it comes to being able to open up about worries and anxiety.

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And he has also backed calls for more openness and less stigma when it comes to discussing men’s mental health.

He said: “My mental health has been a bit of a journey for me, all through high school I was a bit of an anxious person, without any logic to it, which is probably the basis for all anxiety.

"I knew it was rugby for me, it’s a pure release where I can express myself and don’t think about anything else.

“No matter how demanding things have been of my time, I’ve always gone to rugby training twice a week and played on a Saturday. It’s one of the things I don’t compromise on, and that’s really been the backbone of my sanity for a long time."

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Despite rugby’s image as a tough, physical game, father-of-three Danny said that it’s becoming more and more about looking after each other through emotional challenges as much as sporting.

He added: “The rugby team has been a great support network for me, not just the other players, but the coaches as well.

“They’re always supportive and want you to do well. I do lean on the guys. In my younger years I would go into the older guys and talk about work stress and times when I was anxious.

“Nowadays I’m more of a senior player, I try to be more proactive and speak to the younger guys myself. I’ve been at a lot of different rugby clubs over my career, but GHK is a club where you can be open which is why I’ve felt so settled.

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“Rugby has been the saviour of my health, physically, emotionally and mentally. That’s why I’ve never given it up no matter what’s going on in my life and I feel very privileged to be able to do it.”

Toni Groundwater, See Me programme manager for communities and priority groups, said: “We hear phrases like ‘man up’ when it comes to struggling. But you can’t man up out of an illness, and it can make men feel like they can’t tell anyone, or they shouldn’t.

“Men are less likely to ask each other how they are feeling or chat about what they are going through. Men can find it really difficult to speak about how they are feeling.

“Being part of a sports club or a team can be a really great place to break down those barriers and old-fashioned opinions, allowing people to support each other. But the culture needs to be right so people feel able to speak out.”

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