Who let the dogs out?
Wishlist did, with the help of the Brisbane Bombers who are bringing the Bulldogs to the Coast for a fundraising breakfast at the Alex Surf Club on Friday, 21st February.
Aimed at supporting mental health initiatives on the Sunshine Coast, the Bulldogs Brekkie will be hosted by local rugby league identity Ashley Robinson with special guest speakers Bulldogs Coach Des Hasler, CEO Raelene Castle and Captain Michael Ennis.
Wishlist funds getaway camps hosted by the Sunshine Coast Koping Network (SCKOPING) for children who live in families affected by a parent or sibling with mental illness and/or drugs and alcohol, and the proceeds of this event will be directed at continuing to support this important program.
Ashley Robinson, who is also General Manager of the Alex Surf Club, said mental health issues plague many sports identities, particularly in the NRL, and based on his own experiences with depression he advocates the importance of supporting initiatives like SCKoping.
“We need to worry about our young people and make sure they get the right advice and support,” he said. “There are a lot of top sports people, like Ian Thorpe, who suffer from depression. It’s not all glamour at the top with enormous pressure on players to succeed.
“One of the big issues in the NRL and other sports is there are many young people who are told how good they are their whole life, and then they get to the top and something doesn’t go their way; maybe they have a career-ending injury, and then suddenly it’s all over and they don’t know what’s left. There needs to be a public awareness that there are organisations that can help, and that’s why it’s great to have events like this where top players come out and speak up for mental health.”
Ashley admits he has suffered forms of depression even though he describes himself as a typical Aussie bloke. “If people like me can have issues then it can happen to anybody,” he said.
Not too long ago Ashley also experienced the traumatic suicide of a colleague which he said further cemented his belief that we need to probe further if we feel someone has a problem. “After what happened to my friend I’ve learned that asking if someone is alright is not enough. We have to keep a close eye on people in the community because it’s okay to tell someone they need help.”
Ashley said his biggest eye opener was getting involved with people who have disabilities and being part of building an orphanage in India. “During these experiences I thought, ‘what do I have to be depressed about?’ Material things mean nothing. What counts is what’s inside you, your family, your mates, your dog; a new car is not going to fix it.”
Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe said the breakfast’s fundraising cause tied in well with the work the Bulldogs do in their partnership with Beyond Blue. “It is a topical issue at present and Wishlist is always seeking opportunities to raise awareness of the importance of mental health,” Lisa said.
“Each year we see the results of children and young people who have had their lives changed for the better through SCkoping camps, and I urge everyone who can to support this event.”