Ricciardo fights depression like a Ninja

© XPB 

He's about as smiling and cheerful as they come but that doesn't prevent Daniel Ricciardo from opening up his conscious to the torment of depression.

In a bid to raise awareness to a problem affecting so many, the Aussie has lent his support to mental health advocacy group The Inner Ninja, set up by suicide attempt survivor Stefani Caminiti, to help make a difference off the track.

The Red Bull driver revealed his eyes have been opened to mental health and suicide prevention since helping a friend battling depression and deciding to become an ambassador for the cause.

"I’ve got some friends who have gone through some stuff,’’ Ricciardo told Australia's Herald Sun.

"There are a few people who have been closer to me so I’m trying to do my little part if I can and help out. To be honest it’s something that is quite new me to me in terms of my understanding of it all.

"Only within the last six or so months I’ve, lets say, opened my eyes to it a bit more. It’s not something that many people talk about but it happens and it’s a big problem to a lot of people."

Inner Ninja's founder, Stefani  Caminiti said she had battled depression and anxiety for much of her life and survived a suicide attempt in 2013.

Her Perth-based foundation has helped her get her life back on track by helping others, while she also insisted that the F1 star had offered his support when she needed it most.

"He’s been one of my biggest supporters,"’ she said.

"We’ve been lifelong friends ... he’s one of my great mates and I’m very lucky that he helped me."

Ricciardo said his own perspective had changed since becoming a mental health ambassador.

"It’s a big fight overcoming such a thing so I think the more people that have some of these issues, we’re trying to say get it out there and address it.

"And don’t let things bottle up for too long and make a small problem turn into a big one."

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