Raised in suburban Western Australia, Matt Boyce never intended to work in the mental health sector. After chasing a rugby league career to Queensland, Matt turned his ambitions to business, launching his own carpentry company in Brisbane and later joining the Cross Fit management team.
A close network of family and friends, budding career and eclectic mix of hobbies made for a life that looked almost perfect – from the outside. On the inside, Matt was struggling with depression.
After his best friends tragic passing in 2015, Matt had hit rock bottom, losing passion for his hobbies, energy for work and interest in communicating with others. Matt struggled with suicidal thoughts, and became socially isolated, shutting friends and family out and loosing significant relationships in the process.
“My depression was caused by a multitude of factors, some which I had control over. My decision to isolate my family and friends, shutting them out of my life and struggles was one of them. Unfortunately, it’s a decision that has cost me relationships and left permanent scars on others.”
Suffering for more than a year in silence, and resisting support from his family and friends, Matt finally relinquished and reached out to his mates. Once Matt opened up, other men shared their own struggles with mental health. This moment made Matt realise the importance of sharing our experiences and having human connection, as well as reminding him that help out there - you just need to raise your hand.
“So many people still see asking for help as a weakness. That’s simply not true, no one should suffer in silence. We are fortunate to have an array of support services in Australia, but many of us are unaware they are out there and struggle with taking that first step – acknowledging we need help.”
Matt’s personal struggles with own his mental health refocused his direction in life into the mental health advocacy and support space.
Matt founded Human Connection Project in 2016, where he aims to highlight the importance of human connection in conjunction with professional support to improve mental health.
Sharing a meal, going for a walk with a loved one or calling a friend are all small activities that can help us better connect with one another every day. Human Connection Project works to highlight the importance of discussing and prioritising mental health 365 days a year.
“As we have become busier and more digitally connected than ever, we have become the most socially disconnected generation in human history. We need to regain human connection, and I want to help people to do just that.”
When Matt isn’t working on Human Connection Project’s surplus of projects, he enjoys surfing and connecting with the people that matter most, his family, friends and puppy Harvey.