Marcus Trescothick: a sackful of sporting trophies won't beat off depression
Posted Friday 27 November 2009
As a person who has experienced mental health problems, I know how vital it is for people to understand that they are not alone when depression.
I hope the interviews with Frank Bruno, New Zealand All Black John Kirwan, snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan, footballer Neil Lennon and others on the BBC Inside Sport's Mind Games documentary will serve to show that the illness can strike even those at the top of their game.
As I have said before depression is an illness not a weakness and you cannot beat it off with a CV or a bank balance... or a sackful of sporting trophies.
From a personal perspective, my own part in the programme, based on the video diary I kept while touring India with Somerset, made interesting viewing for me. In the end I had to come home early but the fact I made it out there in the first place was a big step forward.
You can watch Mind Games: Depression in Sport on BBC iPlayer until 11.29pm on Wednesday 2 December.
Katie Prior of Mind's media team writes:
Marcus Trescothick's candour in speaking out about his experiences on the Mind Games documentary deserves praise. He first ‘came out’ in his widely acclaimed autobiography that gave valuable insight into the experience of depression, leading it to be shortlisted for Mind’s Book of the Year Award 2009.
It's this sort of honesty from public figures about their experience of mental health problems that can help lesson the stigma that contributed to German goalkeeper Robert Enke's death.
Former New Zealand All Black John Kirwan mentioned in the BBC programme that somebody came up to him following his involvement in a mental health awareness campaign to tell him that he had saved their life. That was just one person, out of the many who would have been touched by the experiences he shared, leading him to believe that his involvement with the campaign was “probably more rewarding than playing for the All Blacks”.
Away from the sports field, there was an interview with Fern Britten in today's Times. She rightly spoke without an ounce of shame about her depression. As she so matter of factly said, ‘for me, it’s like being a diabetic’.
This is exactly what people need to hear, that everyone has mental health as everyone has physical health. Depression and other mental health problems are no different to having influenza, cancer or a sore knee.
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