In the last few days, I have found myself disgusted at the reaction, in some quarters, to Jonathan Trott’s decision to leave the Ashes tour and head home to England to deal with his “stress-related illness”.
I don’t use those inverted commas to make fun, merely as a way of identifying it as the media announcement did.
Surely, in a modern society, we have reached a time when mental illness is not ridiculed. How can we class ourselves as decent people when we take the proverbial mickey out of someone and label them as weak in the wake of such an event?
Furthermore, there is absolutely no justification for the argument that because Trott is a sportsman and earning more than a decent wage that that should somehow disqualify him from having a mental illness.
It is ludicrous to think that just because he plays a sport for a living and has things a little easier than the average Joe next door, who works two jobs and overtime to pay his mortgage, that he is less entitled or able to have a mental illness.
Any of the faceless people out there who are willing to sit behind a computer and type vitriol towards Trott should hang their heads in shame.
Would they be typing the same diatribe if the worst was to happen? Mental illness is not something to be laughed at.
The treatment of David Warner, Michael Clarke and the other Australians is just as ludicrous. I find it very hard to believe the Australian cricket team could have had any prior knowledge of the troubles that Trott was facing.
And if they did? It’s disgusting – I’ll accept that.
We live in a society in Australia (and the world for that matter) where mental illness among men is on the rise – and rapidly. Suicide and self-harm is not a domain for women and girls. Body image, stress and social media all play different roles in the health of people.
This is an issue that must be addressed in a holistic and societal fashion, not swept under the rug and laughed at or mocked. Having the courage to deal with it is surely a better option than the alternative.
Traditionally, men have not spoken of their struggles with mental illness, so I take my hat off to Trott for having the bravery to confront his issues head on.
May better health come his way.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.