You’re not alone

Here you’ll find others that have been through tough times and how they have found the courage and strength to get help.

We hope this encourages you to reach out and get help too.

JOCA – My Experience

It’s not easy writing about depression. The simple fact of the matter is that, when you’re not feeling depressed, the condition’s the very last thing you want to think about. And as for when you’re feeling low, it’s all you can do to get out of bed, let alone sit in front of a PC and try and explain your emotional state.

The other thing that leaves you reticent to write about depression is being aware that the condition has a habit of returning. You might live without it for months, even years, but the ‘black dog’ as Winston Churchill described it has a horrible habit of findings its way home. Writing about it, then, feels like tempting fate. Why dare wake the sleeping gloomy giant?

All of which said, talking and writing about depression is hugely important not only for the sufferer but for the millions of people fortunate enough not to be afflicted by the condition. How else are people going to realise that depression is a lot more than simply feeling a bit down in the dumps if those with the condition don’t explain what it’s like? And as my experience with JOCA proved, if you’re the patient, discussing how you feel is the first step on the road to feeling better.

To cut a long story short, in the summer of 2016, a combination of stress and excess drinking left me in very low spirits indeed. Although I’ve lived with depression on and (mainly) off for 20 years, I was in a terrible state, unable to imagine how life could possibly improve.

It was at this point that Justin Burgess and JOCA came into my life. Although I was already aware – and really impressed – with what the charity was trying to accomplish, I’d never contemplated the possibility that it might come to my assistance. But through my incredibly patient brother and my former teammate Justin, I was encouraged to give JOCA a go.

And so it was that, for a week or two, a very nice lady called Rebecca would phone up every other day to see how I was, to ask what measures I’d taken to improve my state of mind, to suggest things that could help boost my mood; in short, to offer me support at a time when I couldn’t support myself. And bit by bit, it dawned on me that, if this person wasn’t giving up on me, it was incumbent on me not to give up on myself.

Five months on and I’m feeling better than I have done for a very long time. I’m enjoying work, I’ve rekindled a relationship with my family that I’d done my very best to ruin, and I’m looking forward to what the future might bring. In short, I’m a very long way’s away from the how I was in the summer and a big part of that is due to a charity created by a rugby club that’s been part of my life for the better part of 40 years.

To say I’m grateful seems woefully inadequate. What I will so, though, is that, should you ever feel like you need help, please ask for it. I’ve always thought Welwyn Rugby Club was a pretty remarkable place. JOCA is simply the ace up its sleeve.

Richard Luck

I am extremely grateful for the help and support given to me by the JOCA team. They helped me from the very moment I contacted them and offered me support unlike the NHS who simply added me to their 7 week waiting list. It was extremely comforting to be able to speak to someone personally and immediately and someone who genuinely cared.

I am back on my feet and feeling positive about life, working again, and this is down to the support of my JOCA Buddy Becky who I owe.

JOCA was a massive help to me. They helped me when I was really low and was in a very bad place, when I needed someone to talk to while the NHS wasn’t a massive help and I needed someone to talk to who wasn’t in the friendship group or my family.

They put me on the right path with information into how to deal with stuff, every time I had a JOCA counselling session I have always come out of it positive and always set a new goal for the next meeting.

JOCA helped me get job interviews and eventually employed again, sorted me transport and has helped me financially. Life is getting better now thank you JOCA. Helen my JOCA Buddy was excellent.



"Mental illness is an often unspoken about issue and is sadly the biggest killer of young men in the UK aged 22 to 42. If you have a physical injury you report it to your coach and seek advice and go see the club physio, but with mental issues you soldier on and hope it goes away. Helped by some other likeminded club members JOCA (Just One Click Away) was born."

- Justin Burgess

Our club is a family - we look after each other.

We aim to nurture a culture within the club where we talk to each other, and support each other rather than bottle things up and allow them to get out of control.

We start this with our minis buddy system and promote this ethos right from 7 to 70 across the club.

JOCA is your welfare committee dedicated to promoting and ensuring pastoral care and general well-being for all members of our club.

Our Aim #1

To offer WRFC members, players and VP’s, support, guidance and a friendly ear

Our Aim #2

De-stigmatise mental illness in young men and women of all ages

Our Aim #3

To get our young men and women to talk and be open with each other

Our Aim #4

To improve mental well-being and make it as important to physical fitness

Our Aim #5

To notice the signs and to offer support

Our Aim #6

To change the whole ethos of the rugby club from 7 years to 70 years as regards mental health support and general well-being