Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy says such is the extreme nature of some conversations on social media it takes very little to see people’s mental health affected by it.
This comes as Collingwood yesterday confirmed forward Alex Fasolo would not play against Fremantle in Round 11 as he deals with depression.
“I worry about it because it is the extremes of conversation on there and all of us get some pretty interesting things (said about us),” Murphy said on SEN Breakfast.
“I wouldn’t say I get affected, but I can see easily how you would. There’s some pretty horrible things that get said on there.
“But the other thing with the social media thing is, especially with young guys who spend so much of their time on it -you can not read it all and still feel it.
“You can still get a sense (even) if you check in not so often, if there’s some people out there saying some things about you that don’t make you feel particularly worthwhile.”
Murphy said if he was in a similar situation he would feel comfortable to seek help, and says one of the positives at the Bulldogs is having a full-time sport psychologist on site to have a causal conversation with, rather than seeking it from outside.
“I think one of the huge improvements we’ve had in our club (is) we have an in-house sport psychologist and her name is Lisa Stevens,” he said.
“She’s been incredible for our playing group and our football club and I think it’s that day to day conversation, not the having to go and seek those conversations when you’ve got yourself into a bit of a downward spiral.
“I’m not sure how other clubs do it, but that’s definitely been one at our club that if guys are having issues…to have someone with professional capabilities, with the tender touch that we have with Lisa.
“To have her there during the day to have a casual conversation with has helped no end.”
He said the stresses of professional sport mean issues surrounding mental health will continue to pop up, but feels the clubs and media have become better at handling them.
“Professional sport I have always described it as intensely personal and intensely public. You spend a lot of time in your own thoughts and there’s a lot of stress on performance and where you fit in,” Murphy said.
“I can understand occasionally these things blow up because the pressure and exposure on athletes just keeps going up and up, and I think we handle it better and the media handle it better and the clubs internally handle it better.
“But it’s an ongoing struggle for a lot of athletes.”