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Many MIA locals took part in information sessions in Griffith and Leeton last week as part of a promotion detailing the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s offering for people living with a mental health issue. 

The NDIS is one of a growing number of programs and bodies devoting much-needed resources towards mental health.

Much of that is thanks to education, brought about by the issue being thrust into the public spotlight.

Sporting superstars Greg Inglis, Alex Fasolo, Buddy Franklin and Nick Maddison have all made very public announcements regarding their mental health in recent times.

It’s these people breaking traditional thought processes and helping dismiss the stigma mental illness still carries.

They are elite athletes, physically stronger, faster and more talented than the average person - the envy of all.

But what’s refreshing is having people of their ilk teach us not even they can escape the black dog.

The argument big money, a great lifestyle and an envious job makes people immune to depression is fast becoming outdated and those continuing to wonder how the lifestyle of an elite sportsperson and poor mental health can correlate are being increasingly publicly ostracised.

People who have battled depression know the struggle doesn’t discriminate between the rich and the poor – life is a constant process of trying to remain positive, but feeling sad isn’t always the cause of the illness.

Depression can quite often be triggered by almost anything.

Getting to the point where the struggle is a reality is a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, and is more often than not a genetic disorder.

One in three Australians will struggle with some sort of mental illness during their lifetime, and and some scientists estimate half have the disorder as a result of genetics, rather than environmental factors.

It’s pleasing to see the mental illness is finally getting the respect and attention it deserves, and much of that is thanks to better funding and resources.

But serious kudos has to go to the elite athletes, who have dropped their facade and exposed themselves to the scrutiny of millions to show even they aren’t invincible when it comes to mental illness.

ben.jones@fairfaxmedia.com.au

beyondblue.org.au

lifeline.org.au

The story Even the invincible are vulnerable to the dreaded black dog first appeared on The Irrigator.

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