'Kick Off'
 'Tackling Mental Health for Rugby League'
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                     Mental Health Promotion Video

 Kick Off...Mental Health for Rugby League

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Rugby League is probably one of the toughest sports going around. The guys that play, at all levels, are generally regarded likewise; as being 'tough'. It takes a very unique person to pick up an object (in this case a football) and charge headlong into a group of very large angry men, whose intent it is to 'smash' you to the ground, thus inhibiting your forward progress. All this without the aid of any, or little, protective padding, no helmet (or minimal head protection) and with the full knowledge as to their intent and the probable consequences.

Add to this fact that these athletes repeatedly continue this process for a period of no less than 80 minutes, only being offset by 'role reversal' (where the attackers become defenders - an equally arduous task); never mind the countless hours of training, the need for pre-match planning, the essential requirement to 'read the game', maintain strong 'self belief' & confidence, understand the 'plays' and develop an instinctive comprehension of the overall game whilst on the field.

While this toughness is essential 'on the field', it does not necessarily translate to other areas of a player's life. Many a 'rough headed', 'hard-nosed' footballer can be 'gentle giants' with their children and loved ones. Similarly, the confidence & control they experience during a game does not guarantee social confidence, self assuredness & control.

The type of physical & mental 'toughness' required to play the game can often compromise a person's capacity to cope with mental health issues such as depression. It can be seen as a 'weakness' to accept or acknowledge a mental illness or personality inadequacy or flaw. As such, many problems that could, and should, be treated early are going largely undetected or 'ignored'.

Inappropriate and damaging 'coping mechanisms' are used to mask or temporarily deal with psychological, emotional & social problems. Drugs & alcohol are two (2) of the most common methods used, though there are many others that inhibit 'healing' & treatment.

By ignoring of rejecting any notion of mental ill-health, a person puts at risk the very things that make their lives complete. This can have life-long consequences. There are those who have lost their football career, whose future with the game post-retirement is severely damaged; where relationships with their wives or partners are compromised and sometimes lost. Should children be involved in the latter, the costs are even greater.

Financially, emotionally, socially & psychologically, the individual becomes a mere shadow of their former selves. The dreams & aspirations they had as a junior footballer are gone or at least barely resemble those they once held.

This is of course one the worst scenarios & it would be presumptuous & foolish to suggest that this will occur in each case of neglected mental health or illness; but there are examples of this unfortunately. It is possible.

What is certain is that there ARE consequences to this neglect. The degree of effect from these consequences varies from person to person & situation to situation; just as it does for any individual in society. No two people are the same.

'Kick Off' aims to provide the player or other related individual, with an understanding of various mental illnesses, stressors, developmental processes & coping mechanisms, need for assessment, treatment options and so on. Often the reason for fear & apprehension is the unknown. Armed with an understanding, even if that's relatively basic, will lead to increased confidence & dispel many of the untruths & fallacies that exist among those who choose a path of ignorance. Knowledge leads to power; power over yourself and power & strength to overcome obstacles in your life.

By de-stigmatizing mental illness and de-bunking many of the associated myths surrounding it, we will go a long way toward maximizing your performance 'on the field', improving behaviour 'off the field' and enabling you to fulfill your goals and aspirations by becoming the 'best you can' - for yourself, your loved ones, friends, family & significant others.

It is imperative that the same dedication, discipline, passion and 'toughness' displayed in your life as a player, be displayed 'off field' as a husband, partner, employee, businessman, successful member of society. It is your choice. Don't waste valuable time only to look back in the future and wish you'd done something earlier. Hindsight is a wonderful thing; foresight & insight is even better.

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Who suffers from mental illness?

It's easy to believe that people who suffer from mental illness are different from you and me -- or that they are unable to cope in life. In fact, people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression etc. have the same range of abilities as people without these diagnoses. Some people have problems coping, some do very well. Some may even find their professional growth assisted by their mental health problems. Goodwin & Jamison (1990), for example, found that 20% of renowned poets in one sample were diagnosed with either major depression or bipolar disorder.

Here's a list of people who have "outted" themselves and admitted to significant mental illness -- and are also very successful. (Historical figures have been identified by current writers and researchers. There is significant disagreement about some diagnoses.) Don't sell yourself or the people you work with short!


Major depression

  • Mike Wallace, CBS anchor and newsman 
  • Rod Steiger, Academy Award winning actor 
  • William Styron, author 
  • Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher 
  • John Stuart Mill, philosopher, economist 
  • Thomas Wolfe, author 
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The great Gatsby  
  • Louisa May Alcott, author of Little women  
  • Marilyn Monroe, actress 
  • Art Buchwald, political satirist 
  • Dick Cavett, talk show host 
  • Buzz Aldrin, astronaut 
  • Honore de Balzac, author 
  • Frederic Chopin, composer 
  • Clara Barton, philanthropist, founder of Red Cross 
  • Alma Powell, wife of Colin Powell -- the latter briefly a presidential hopeful in 1996 

Schizophrenia and other disorders with significant psychotic symptoms

  • Vincent Van Gogh, Impressionist painter 
  • John Nash, 1994 Nobel Laureate in Economics 
  • Vaslav Nijinsky, dancer 
  • George III, king of England 

Panic disorder

  • Naomi Judd, singer 
  • Earl Campbell, football player and Heisman trophy winner 
  • Vince Van Patten, actor and star of "Baywatch" 
  • Willard Scott, weatherman on NBC's "Today" 

Bipolar disorder

  • Abraham Lincoln, 16th United States president (1861 - 1865) 
  • Teddy Roosevelt, 26th United States president (1901 - 1909) 
  • Winston Churchill, British prime minister (1940 - 1945, 1951 - 1955) 
  • Ted Turner, owner of Turner Broadcasting 
  • Sen. Thomas Eagleton, Democratic presidential hopeful in 1972 
  • Saul, king of Israel (11th c. Israel) 
  • Virginia Woolf, author of A room of one's own  
  • Bob Boorstin, former Clinton staffer, currently at State Department 
  • Kay Jamison, psychologist, expert on bipolar disorder, and author of An unquiet mind, her memoir about her own mental illness 
  • Sylvia Plath, poet and author of The Bell Jar, perhaps also suffering from borderline personality disorder 
  • George Frederick Handel, composer 
  • Robert Schumann, composer 
  • Freddie Prinze, comedian 
  • James Joyce, author of Ulysses  
  • Ernest Hemingway, author of For whom the bell tolls  
  • Patty Duke, actress. Her memoir is entitled Brilliant madness  
  • Kitty Dukakis, wife of 1988 presidential hopeful 
  • Margot Kidder, actress, "Lois" in the "Superman" movies 
  • Mark Vonnegut, author of Eden express, his description of his struggles with "schizophrenia." He has been more recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Vonnegut is the son of author Kurt Vonnegut. 
  • Patricia Cornwell, author of the Kay Scarpetta series of mysteries -- one of my favorites 
    • Joy Ikelman's list of people with affective disorders is more extensive than mine and a good place to go for more information. 
    • Lena Arvola's page on bipolar disorder gives a very personal view of what it is like to live with bipolar disorder. 

 Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 

  • Howard Stern, radio personality 
  • Roseanne, actress 
  • Marc Summers, host of "Double Dare" on Nickelodeon. Remember the kid's show where the host was frequently slimed or gotten wet in the course of the episode? 
  • Vivien Leigh, actress 
  • Howard Hughes, inventor, entrepreneur 

Eating Disorders

  • Karen Carpenter, singer, died from the sequelae of anorexia 
  • Elizabeth I, queen of England  
  • Tracey Gold, actress, struggling with anorexia 
  • Emme, top plus size model, host of Fashion Emergency  
  • Princess Diana, diagnosed with bulimia and depression 
  • Paula Abdul, singer, dancer, winner of a Grammy for her music video, reports problems with bulimia 


  • John Madden, sports announcer, former professional football coach, suffers from fear of flying 

Not significant mental illness, but also in the DSM-IV and with negative consequences and connotations


  • Harry Belafonte, actor, singer and producer. "When I began to read literature, what always satisfied me was the literature of these great social writers -- Steinbeck, Hemingway, Mark Twain. . . . Richard Wright. . ." (Newsweek, August 26, 1996, p. 63) 
  • Nelson Rockefeller, governor of New York, vice president of the United States (1974 - 1977) 

Alzheimer's disease

  • Rita Hayworth, actress 
  • Ronald Reagan, 40th United States president (1981 - 1989) 

Gender identity disorder

  • Renee Richards, tennis player 



Celebrities with Depression


Here is a list of famous people or celebs who suffer or have suffered from Depression or depressive disorder.


Famous People with Depression A - G

*                                                             Abraham Lincoln (U.S. president)

*                                Adam Ant (musician)

*                                Akira Kurosawa (film director)

*                                Alanis Morissette (musician)

*                                Amy Tan (writer)

*                                Anne Rice (writer)

*                                Ashley Judd (actress)

*                                Audrey Hepburn (actress)

*                                Billy Corgan (musician)

*                                Billy Joel (musician)

*                                Boris Yeltsin (Russian president)

*                                Brian Wilson (musician)

*                                Britney Spears (actress)

*                                Brooke Shields (actress)

*                                Buzz Aldrin (astronaut)

*                                Charles Darwin (biologist)

*                                Charles Dickens (writer)

*                                David Bohm (physicist)

*                                Diana, Princess of Wales (princess)

*                                Dick Cavett (TV show host)

*                                Drew Carey (comedian)

*                                Eddie Griffin (NBA basketball player)

*                                Edgar Allan Poe (poet, writer)

*                                Edgar Degas (painter)

*                                Elizabeth Hartman (actress)

*                                Ernest Hemingway (writer)

*                                Francisco de Goya (painter)

*                                Gwyneth Paltrow (depression)


Famous People with Depression H – R

*                                         Halle Berry (actress)

*                                Hans Christian Andersen (writer)

*                                Harrison Ford (actor)

*                                Heather Locklear (actress)

*                                Henri Matisse (painter)

*                                Herman Melville (writer)

*                                Hillary Clinton (politician, presidential candidate)

*                                Isaac Newton (physicist)

*                                James Taylor (musician)

*                                Janet Jackson (musician)

*                                Jim Carrey (comedian, actor)

*                                Joe Budden (musican)

*                                John Denver (musician)

*                                John Hinckley, Jr. (assassin)

*                                John Keats (poet)

*                                Kirsten Dunst (actress)

*                                Kool Keith (musician)

*                                Kurt Cobain (musician)

*                                Kurt Vonnegut (author)

*                                Lindsay Lohan (actress)

*                                Lorraine Bracco (actress)

*                                Mandy Moore (actress)

*                                Marie Osmond (actress)

*                                Marilyn Monroe (actress)

*                                Mark Rothko (painter)

*                                Mark Twain (writer)

*                                Maureen McCormick (aka Marsha Brady)

*                                Michelangelo (painter)

*                                Mike Wallace (journalist)

*                                Morrissey (musician)

*                                Naomi Judd (musician)

*                                Natalie Cole (musician)

*                                Owen Wilson (actor)

*                                Paul Gauguin (painter)

*                                Paul Getty (philanthropist)

*                                Rodney Dangerfield (actor)

*                                Rod Steiger (actor)

*                                Robert Oppenheimer (physicist)


Famous People with Depression S - Z

*                                                Sarah Silverman (comedian)

*                                Sheryl Crow (musician)

*                                Tennessee Williams (playwright)

*                                Terry Bradshaw (NFL football player)

*                                Tipper Gore (wife of politician)

*                                Trent Reznor (musician)

*                                Vincent Van Gogh (artist)

*                                Walt Whitman (poet)

*                                Winston Churchill (politician)

*                                Willie Aames (actor)

*                                Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (composer)

*                                Woody Allen (actor, director)




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Michael J. Salamon, Ph.D., FICPP
Senior Psychologist/Director
ADC Psychological Services, PLLC
1728 Broadway, Suite 1
Hewlett, NY 11557







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