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Australian players seek professional help to address mental illness

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Jonathan Trott’s mental illness was the most talked about amongst cricketers in recent times © Getty Images

Sydney: Mar 23, 2014

Australian cricketers are reportedly having confidential counseling sessions more than ever before in order to address and improve their mental health.

The issue of depression has flared in many sports, including horse racing while mental health, workload and stress issues have come sharply into focus in cricket with England batsman Jonathan Trott heading home during the summer’s Ashes series with a stress-related illness, which was later revealed to be ‘mental burnout’.

According to News.com.au, Australian Cricketers’ Association boss Paul Marsh believes it is a positive step that increasing numbers of cricketers are seeking professional help as it is a serious issue for cricket with the amount of time Australian players spend away from their families each year, combined with focus on individual performances.

Stating that he is heartened by the fact more cricketers are putting up their hands to say they may have a problem, Marsh also said that what was once seen as a mental weakness is now, in some extreme cases, being recognised as a disease, adding that cricket has some unique circumstances in these issues as compared to other sports.

Despite a successful period including a 5-0 Ashes whitewash, the report mentioned that more Australian cricketers are ringing a private helpline for professional support.

The ACA and Cricket Australia ( CA) have worked hard on educating players about health and well-being and supporting players and their families over the last decade with several initiatives, including an annual two-week ‘visitors period’ where touring players have their families travel and stay with them for free for a fortnight.

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