Alastair Campbell: May Robert Enke's death increase understanding of depression
Posted Thursday 12 November 2009
I'm in Austria to make a speech and speak to government communications specialists.
The news is wall to wall coverage of the dreadful suicide of top footballer Robert Enke, who had fought depression for years. I have no idea what channel I am watching but there is a calm and dignity to the coverage which adds profoundly to the sense of loss clearly felt right across Germany.
Most moving of all a remarkable interview with his widow Teresa, speaking of how she always tried to be there for him, and aways lived in hope that he would one day be free of his illness.
Politicians from Angela Merkel down are expressing their and their nation's grief. Footballers and coaches are doing the same, many saying they had no idea that the Hannover goalkeeper was ill, let alone liable to take his life.
When news coverage gives way to pictures, set to music, of candles being lit and memorabilia being laid outside the Hannover stadium, and slow motion shots of Enke in action, you almost sense the makings of a Diana moment for Germany.
It is certainly incredibly sad and nobody will ever know what was really going on inside his mind as finally he decided to end his life.
But the only hope to be found in this horrible event is the hope of greater understanding of a disease which is still surrounded by too much stigma and taboo.
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