Over the past 48 hours, stories of AFL footballer, Lance (Buddy) Franklin’s, personal struggle with mental health problems have proliferated in the social, print and television media. Regardless of one’s AFL persuasion, it’s hard not to admire the courage of a young man who speaks so openly and publicly about his battles off the field, in the very private mental health arena.
Buddy’s story is a sobering reminder that prestige, popularity, physical strength and financial success do not render a person invulnerable to very painful private experiences. I think it was John Watson, a 19th Century Minister that said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”. We are all in the same boat.
It’s terrific that Buddy is now getting the support and care he needs. Treatment rates for mental health problems in young males are notoriously low. Hopefully, Buddy’s story will encourage those that have struggled in silence to reach out – so that they too can return to ‘kicking goals’.