Adelaide’s Josh Jenkins believes it is important for people to know that personal abuse can negatively impact more than the player in question.
Jenkins was so intent on protecting his wife Hannah and daughter Lottie when he turned out for the Crows against Port Adelaide in the SANFL last weekend, that he asked them to stay home.
The Crows forward is acutely aware of how abuse towards individuals can affect their mental health.
“On the weekend, I told Hannah and Lottie to stay home,” Jenkins said on SEN SA Breakfast.
“Because at SANFL (level), the abuse that gets hurled around – and I’m not condemning people that do it – but it’s uncomfortable for them to have to sit there and go through that.
“If I was at Hannah’s netball, I’d be wanting to start a fight if those same things were said. That’s how I’m trying to get to people to understand that it affects everyone.
“Mental health might affect the individual but the whole family gets affected.
“As I’ve said, this is not about AFL players or sport stars saying, ‘woe is me’. It’s everywhere.
“It’s purely about having the conversation and being confident enough.”
In a BBC series to support Mental Health Week in the UK, Prince William was joined by current and former footballers and coaches including Thierry Henry, Danny Rose, Jermaine Jenas and Gareth Southgate to speak about their experiences with mental health.
Jenkins says mental health does not discriminate and hopes more AFL players can have the courage to speak out if they are having a tough time.
“If Prince William and those European soccer stars are able to say something and speak about it, then there’s no one who shouldn’t be (able to),” he added.
When asked if the AFL is doing enough to support mental health, Jenkins referenced Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge’s comments on Tom Boyd who has opted to retire at the age of 23.
“Its (the AFL) trying to do as much as it can,” Jenkins said further.
“It’s not the forbidden beast but it’s the big black beast in the background which everyone is afraid of and doesn’t fully understand.
“I heard Luke Beveridge say, ‘we knew that Tom was struggling but you just don’t know how much’.
“That’s why individuals just have to really have the confidence and the people around them who can speak up and help them.”