Western Bulldogs midfielder and Movember Ambassador Lin Jong is encouraging those who are fighting mental health battles to speak out and start the conversation.
Movember is an annual movement which encourages males to grow a moustache to raise awareness about issues relating to mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
Jong, who left the Queensland hub early to undergo ankle surgery, shared some of his own struggles on SEN 1116 ahead of Movember, which starts next month.
“I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2018 – I don’t necessarily think the day you are diagnosed is the day it starts, but that was my situation,” Jong told Garry Lyon and Tim Watson on SEN Breakfast.
“I ended up having to speak to the Club and take some time off from playing football – since then I thought I’d try to find the passion I had for football (that I lost) again, and just enjoy living life again.
“I’ve been going pretty well ever since.”
Jong admitted he was concerned about the reaction he would get to speaking out, but quickly realised there was no need to worry.
“Being honest and open about it, (has) been a lot easier to be myself in a way,” he said.
“I try to encourage (talking openly) as much as I can – I think originally it was quite tough and I wasn’t sure how I’d be perceived and what kind of judgments would come with it, but when you think about it from the other side and how you would act if your mate came to you and said they were struggling, I think you’d be pretty fine with it.”
Jong also highlighted how important this year, given the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, it is to look after after your mental health.
“2020 obviously has been a year like no other, and it’s going to be a real struggle for a lot of people out there, so I guess this year has been as important as any to get those conversations going and especially for Movember and raising those funds.
“It’s something that is really important to me – to share my story and help with Movember, and get those conversations going.”
Movember has funded more than 1250 men’s health projects worldwide since 2003, motivating men to take action for their health.
To get involved or learn more about Movember, head to www.movember.com.