Stigma surrounding depression in sports is decreasing

Dr Ashley Nattrass: There’s all this stigma attached to (depression), you don’t want to talk about your vulnerabilities if you’re a macho sporting player...
Dr Ashley Nattrass: There’s all this stigma attached to (depression), you don’t want to talk about your vulnerabilities if you’re a macho sporting player...

THE stigma surrounding sportspeople talking about their depression is decreasing, according to Dr Ashley Nattrass.

"I think it (depression) is starting to become more and more recognised and the reason for that is twofold," he said.

"I think people are starting to get a little bit more confident talking about it. There's all this stigma attached to it. You don't want to talk about your vulnerabilities if you're a macho sporting player. The last thing you want to show is weakness and that's what is starting to change."

He also said people around those suffering depression were more aware there could be a problem.

The Caneland Medical doctor, who is also the Cutters medico, spoke on recognising depression at a CQUniversity meeting for fitness and allied health professionals on Wednesday night.

The meeting brought together health professionals with members of the fitness industry.

"The whole concept is to see how can each of us help each other," Dr Nattrass said.

"Our biggest problem (with depression) is trying to recognise it."

Dr Nattrass said it was vital health services worked with the sports community.

"Take the classic football player, the guy that's in the limelight, very physically impressive, people want to be like them... yet they are struggling with really significant depression," he said.

This year Mackay's sporting community was rocked when Mackay Cutters player Hayden Butler and North Queensland Cowboys youth player Regan Grieve took their own lives.

"It's a very big worry for us and I think all of us in the medical fraternity are doing everything in our power to try to identify people and then get them the help they need," Dr Nattrass said.



  •  Lifeline 13 11 14
  •  headspace 1800 650 890
  •  Mackay Integrated Mental Health 4968 3893
  •  beyondblue 1300 224 636
  •  Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Topics:  depression mackay safetalk sports suicide

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