Cricket deserves praise for understanding complexity of mental illness

Credit www.telegraph.co.uk

Credit telegraph.co.uk

The writer Mark Rice-Oxley believes cricket should be praised for understanding the complex mental issues a number of players have suffered from in recent years.

Rice-Oxley, who has been studying depression in the sport for a number of years, believes the sport has made great advances in the past decade compared to other sports.

The author was speaking after the English batsman Jonathan Trott was forced to return home from Australia yesterday evening due to a stress related illness.

Rice-Oxley told News Anois: “there is a far more forgiving environment in cricket toward mental illness now and much of this is thanks to Marcus Trescothick”.

Trescothick, once a talisman for the English national team, was forced to leave the international scene in 2006 due to a stress related illness.

Rice-Oxley said: “once this wall had been broken down it led to a much greater degree of understanding in the global cricket society and with mental illness matters public understanding is absolutely crucial.

Rice-Oxley warned that the “crazy scheduling” involved in international cricket would guarantee that players will continue to develop mental illnesses, with frantic travelling meaning players can often go months without seeing their friends.

“The international game is full of amazing highs but also, often more frequently, such demoralising lows”, said the experienced writer.

The Australian test player Ed Cowen defines the psyche of cricketers as “spending more time thinking about our next inevitable failure than our next success”.

In order to soften the severe psychological strain test cricketers endure Rice-Oxley argued that confrontation is required between cricket players and international authorities.

However before that could occur the players would have to unite in their belief, something unlikely to happen in the future as some players are keen to maximise their wage while others, often older, are more aware of the effect intense travel can have on the mind.

Rice-Oxley labelled some of the early press treatment of Trott in the Australian media as “crass and insensitive”, while he was extremely critical of Piers Morgan, who yesterday tweeted that winners never quit in relation to the English batsman’s affairs.

“Sport is often painted as a gladiatorial contest… but finally we’re beginning to see the stigma attached to mental illness in sport dissolve”.

Ronan Morrissey

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