Sunday 4 December 2016

Sports stars break depression taboos

Mark Hilliard

Published 15/02/2012 | 05:00

SPORTS stars speaking publicly about their battle with depression are helping to break down stigmas associated with the illness, new research has found.

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A study, conducted by the Lean On Me campaign, has found that recent coverage on the subject has had a "significant impact on attitudes towards the illness in Ireland".

Some 88pc of 250 people actively involved in sport surveyed said they were aware of the coverage and 76pc said it made them more aware of the issues surrounding depression.

Tragic boxer Darren Sutherland is widely believed to have taken his own life as a result of suffering from depression. Other athletes suffering from the condition include marathon runner Martin Fagan, and footballer Andy O'Brien.

Speaking at the launch of the study yesterday, Bohemians footballer Owen Heary, said that athletes' personal stories are getting through to others.

"Now people realise that when they do have problems they can speak about it," he said.

Now the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland (PFAI) and the Irish Rugby Union Players' Association (IRUPA) have leant their support to the Lean On Me campaign which aims to continue to raise awareness.

Caroline Currid, a performance coach who has worked with several All-Ireland winning teams, says depression amongst those involved is common but is swept under the carpet due to the stigma attached to it in Ireland. "This campaign gives them the opportunity to talk about it," she said

Irish Independent

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