Depression and Suicide: does our achievement oriented society allow people space to admit weakness?

Depression and Psychotherapy.

In the Telegraph (September 28th), the tragic suicide of the German international goalkeeper, Robert Enke in 2009, was once again discussed due to a book just being released by Ronald Reng describing Enke’s long struggle with depression culminating in his suicide at the age of 32. It feels important to highlight the fact that depression, severe or mild, can and does affect all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons and that this includes professional sports people. This case sadly highlights the tendency in our achievement oriented society to see mental illness as a weakness. The article concludes saying ‘if we allow our sportsmen and women space to admit weakness, then a tragedy such as Enke’s could in future be avoided.’ This is true, although mental illness is perhaps less ‘weakness’ and more the human condition. Psychotherapy does provide a space for people, a place where we can integrate all parts of ourselves, where we can process and give meaning to our thoughts and behaviours with the help of a therapist. Seeking psychotherapy should not be seen as a weakness but in fact a strength. When we feel very down, confused, not in control or simply lost, it is a brave step to take to seek help and to try to forge a different future.