"You can be strong by reaching out" - Shane Young, UFC Fighter

By Kelvin McDonald
Credit: UFC 234/Sky TV

Fresh off the back of his latest victory, Māori UFC fighter Shane Young has made a heartfelt mihi to rangatahi and others struggling to cope with life to reach out and seek support.

In a post-fight interview after his unanimous decision over American fighter Austin Arnett in Melbourne last night, the 25-year-old mixed martial arts fighter said he wanted to spread a message of positivity.

"The reason I got into this sport is because I wanted to use this platform to try and spread some good in the world."

Young, who took time out last year to focus on his mental health, expressed his aroha, especially for young people going through difficult times.

"Back home in Aotearoa we've got the highest youth suicide rate and to all you kids, anyone that's listening right now, I know what you're going through."  

He encouraged rangatahi to share their feelings with others. 

"Just reach out to someone, talk.  It's all good, we don't have to be strong.  You can be strong by reaching out."

Young signed off with a message of aroha and a call to 'hit him up' for support. 

"I love you guys, ok?  Hit me up, Shane Young MMA on Instagram. I'll help you out."

It's a sentiment he has repeated on social media, along with a few simple words of hope. 

"I love and appreciate you all!  I truly mean that, especially those of you that have felt that darkness.  Please know that it's darkest just before the light! We got this whanau x."

Helplines for children and young people

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat.

thelowdown.co.nz – or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626. 

What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available from 5pm–11pm 7 days a week, including all public holidays.

Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.

National helplines

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor. 

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Healthline – 0800 611 116

Samaritans – 0800 726 666