“There are three types of people in this world. Type three, are those too lazy and ambitionless to work hard at anything. Type two, find their peace just making a wage working for someone and then going home. Then there are the type one people. They take risks, they engage with the world around them, they lead, and they create legacies. I know what I want to be, and I know what I want my best friend to be…”
It’s one of the many nuggets of wisdom and friendship Matt Boyce remembers his best mate Justin imparting on him before his passing. The tragic loss of this influential and vital connection in Matt’s life left him numb and incredibly disconnected from the many other human connections in his life.
It took time, and it took work, but Matt was able to overcome his personal and mental health struggles by learning to understand the power of human connection.
Born and raised in Perth, WA, he chased his dream to play footy across the country to the sunny Queensland city of Brisbane. Finding great joy in the gruelling pre-season training camps it only made sense that he also found himself coaching full-time at Crossfit Coorparoo. He’s the kind of guy who makes friends with ease and ferocity, ready to give the shirt from his back to any of his footy team mates or Crossfit Coorparoo family and even shed his shorts and shoes as well should any of his closest mates ask. No-one has yet.
In the dark time that followed Justin’s death, Matt’s grief was like a veil, blinding him to the readily returned support and friendship these same friends and family could offer. When he finally did see power these genuine connections could have, he refocused his direction in life into mental health advocacy and building platforms for human connection to take place and prosper.
The Human Connection Project was founded to highlight the importance of human connection in the proactive fight against the epidemic levels of mental illness and loneliness we are currently experiencing.
“An average of eight Australians die from suicide every day… the sad reality is that this is just the recorded deaths. This figure is horrifying and we need to do more to help improve mental health for ourselves and each other,” Matt said. “At the end of the day, our relationships are all that matters. I want to make sure everyone realises that.”
Spurred by his experiences, his mission with the Project is not only to help those suffering similar feelings reconnect with those around them, but to go even further and help everyone strengthen all of their human connections. The Human Connection Project promotes learning and advocacy initiatives for proactive mental health solutions based on his own life-learnt lessons, as well as science-driven research within the fields of positive psychology, health sciences and neurobiology.
The legacy he hopes to leave for his family and his mate Justin is one where everyone loves everyone, where the passion and energy that has driven him to help others create deep and genuine human connections, leaves a lasting change in his community and the world.