IRUPA and the PFAI Join the Lean on Me Campaign to Promote Positive Metal Health
According to research conducted by the Lean on Me campaign, recent media coverage of high profile sports stars coming forward and sharing their experiences of depression has had a significant impact on attitudes towards the illness in Ireland.
63% of participants in the survey said that media coverage of high profile sports stars experiencing depression made them more sympathetic towards issues of mental health and depression. Three quarters (76%) said the coverage has heightened their awareness of the issues of mental health and depression.
The results of the Lean on Me survey were released as the Professional Footballers’ Association of Ireland (PFAI) and the Irish Rugby Union Players’ Association (IRUPA) announced their joint partnership with Lean on Me to collectively help to break down the stigma that remains around depression and mental health in sport. The campaign is also supported by Aware, European Depression Association, World Federation of Mental Health, and Lundbeck Ireland.
A booklet, Lean on Me-To Win, has also been launched providing information on tools and techniques used by sports people that can be employed by anyone to help them keep a healthy mind and maintain a positive outlook.
General secretary of the PFAI Stephen McGuinness said, “I have huge respect for the sports people who have spoken publicly about their struggles recently. Unfortunately there is a stigma around depression and players are reluctant to come forward and seek help for any problems they might be having, often because they feel it might show a weakness that will affect their selection or career. Just as your team helps you succeed on the pitch, they are also there to help off the pitch.”
“The PFAI have partnered with the Lean on Me campaign to try and encourage our members and the wider public, to open up and talk to someone if they think they might be grappling with depression.”
Omar Hassanein, chief executive of IRUPA said, “There are many factors that can contribute to professional athletes being affected by depression, whether it is performance anxiety or even having too much time on your hands, particularly post-retirement when daily training and team environment are no longer there.
“Many of these same factors impact non-athletes and the message is the same; by seeking support you are taking the first steps towards recovery. The Lean on Me-To Win booklet launched today provides some really useful information on depression and techniques that anyone can adopt to encourage positive thinking and a healthy mind.”
The Lean on Me survey questioned 250 people actively involved in sport. Almost half (45%) felt they had experienced symptoms of depression in the past and 69% said that encouragement from friends or family would persuade them to seek help if they were experiencing symptoms of depression.
76% of respondents, who claimed to have experienced symptoms of depression in the past, either agreed or strongly agreed that there is a social stigma surrounding depression.
Speaking about the new campaign partners Eithne Boyan, Managing Director, Lundbeck (Ireland) Ltd, said, “We are delighted to receive the support of the PFAI and IRUPA for the Lean on Me campaign. Depression affects 1 in 10 of all people in Ireland and that includes the large number of people that participate in sport. I would encourage people to log on to www.leanonme.net to learn more about depression and how they might provide support.”
Research was conducted amongst 250 active sports participants (actively participate in sport at least once a week) on 1st February 2012.
1. Media Stories
· 88% of respondents (91% of males) have heard or seen stories in the media about high profile sports people experiencing depression
· 76% said this made them more aware of issues of depression and mental health
2. Attitudes Towards Depression
If a friend or loved one told them they were suffering from depression…
· 95% of females would advise them to seek professional help compared to 79% males
· 44% of non-sufferers would be encouraged to learn more about depression
· Almost three times as many depression sufferers would recommend more exercise compared to non-sufferers (35% v 13%)
3. Depression- Perceptions
· 74% believe there is a social stigma surrounding depression
· 54% strongly disagreed that depression is a state of mind and not really an illness at all
4. Depression- Awareness
· 70% know someone in their immediate family or close group of friends that has suffered from depression
· This is higher amongst females (84%) than males (66%)
5. Depression- Symptoms
· Thoughts of hopelessness (89%) withdrawal (87%), loss of interest in life (86%) and thoughts about suicide or self-harm (82%) are the symptoms most associated with depression
· Lack of energy is also cited highly by those who say they have suffered from depression at 82%, compared to 59% who have not suffered from depression
6. Sources of Information & Help
· GP’s are seen as the first point of contact for information and help with depression (68%). Internet/website is second at 52%
· 69% said encouragement from friends or family would persuade them to seek help if they were experiencing symptoms of depression, 58% cited knowing someone personally who had sought help for depression in the past and a greater knowledge of the support service available