'Kick Off'
 'Tackling Mental Health for Rugby League'
Close Window

Kick Off




'Sports do not build character, they reveal it.'


'Kick Off''....Innovative, Proactive & Dedicated to Rugby League                                  

    sad man            Isolation

                     Mental Health Promotion Video

 Kick Off...Mental Health for Rugby League

                                                                                                                      Audio Option                     


Audio    Unavailable at this time


Risk Groups  Videos  Celebrities who have attempted Suicide  Parasuicide & Self Harm  Facts & Statistics  'Fact Sheet'

  Click to turn music 'off'

Performed by Kim Burstow

suicide 1 

 Please Click here for Suicide 'Fact Sheet'.



“If only I knew”….”If only I had noticed”….”.If only I had acted earlier”…”If only I’d been there” ...etc. etc... . These phrases are tragic in their implications. They should never have to be used. They engender sorrow and guilt in someone who has been privy to the soul destroying effects of the death by suicide of someone close to them. It can often be a burden they carry through for the rest of their lives, and yet they shouldn’t feel this way. How could you take on this negative, guilt ridden attitude if you did not know what you were experiencing or observing? As stated before, many false opinions and prejudices, propagated by others, including the media, have impacted on people’s thought processes and perceptions. Add to this the benign ignorance associated with a lack of education and one can see why mental ill health often goes undetected.


Before we go further it is important to realize that suicide is not necessarily the end result of depression. There are instances where there is no explanation or where the individual clearly makes the choice to end their life, based on factors unrelated to distorted perception, low mood or clouded consciousness. These are in the minority however. Most suicides are resultant from depression or depressive illnesses and to that end, we will focus on this area.


One of the saddest aspects of suicide is that the person obviously feels they are generally worthless to the point that either the world would be better off without them or that their life means nothing to themselves or to anybody else. All life has worth. No matter how ‘bad’ you are or how ‘good’ you are, whether you’re a criminal or a pillar of society. No matter if you’re old or young, sick or well, employed or unemployed, high achieving or average, intellectually or physically impaired or a ‘top flight’ athlete.


Why is it that some choose to end their lives and fail to see out the purpose for their existence? In many cases, we simply do not know. We can’t ask the person, we can only go on supposition & evidence based in previous behaviour, mood, incidents & issues, life events, history, family dynamics etc., ,and occasionally a written explanation.


What is important, and true, is the fact that these people have descended so far into depression or become so unwell that they’ve made this choice and without anyone apparently noticing the warning signs, ignoring them or simply not knowing the signs.


From the outset, it is important to realize that anyone who chooses the path of suicide and is determined to accomplish their aim is unlikely to be stopped. They often appear brighter & more settled than they had previously been, giving all indication that maybe ‘things are better’. This is because the battle within…’life or death’, has been internally resolved. It is very accurately portrayed in Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, where he says….”to be or not to be, that is the question”.


Last Will & Testament


This is why it is essential that intervention be undertaken early in the downward spiral of depression. Early identification of depression & the issues & concerns that may have led to this state, are the only ways of preventing the majority of suicides. We need to treat the cause, not the symptom.


As difficult as it is to accept, you can never totally remove suicide from society, but we can make tremendous steps toward reducing the incidence by taking heed of the signals, the precursors to, and the root cause of depressive illness and general mental illness.


There are those who use their lives as a holy sacrifice; martyrdom. There are those who are so psychotic that their delusional beliefs & hallucinations will drive them to take their lives; and there are those for whom no explanation can be ascertained.


As sad as it is, the notion of ‘suicide prevention’ will not eradicate the event from occurring. The only hope is that we, as a society, can work toward lessening the incidence and the effect through education, early identification & prompt intervention. Unfortunately our ever evolving society is the very thing that is impeding the probability of achieving this aim.


Pressures, stressors & life’s increasing pace are contributing to the increase in depression & mental illness. Add to this the decline in marriage & relationship stability, family breakdowns & the subsequent family law court actions/decisions, child support & maintenance, drugs & alcohol, gambling, higher expectations from employers & family and increased financial burdens, and it is easy to see why it sometimes ‘all becomes too much’. Other factors such as unresolved, traumatic childhood experiences impact heavily on the individual. Physical, psychological & sexual abuse is extremely powerful & damaging.    


There are those people who are so completely overcome by depression that they are physically, emotionally & psychologically incapable of taking their lives, even though they may be consumed by suicidal thoughts. Their level of depression has resulted in ‘psychomotor retardation’ (a state where the individual is significantly ‘slowed’ in their physical movements, thought processes, speech, emotional response etc.) Unfortunately, some treatments for depression may lift the person ‘up’ to the point where they are now capable of fulfilling their wish to end their lives, as the suicidal thoughts persist. This is the most dangerous period of the depressed persons’ mental state. This is where suicide risk is highest.


The incidence of suicide in Rugby League is reported to be of similar rate to that overall nationally, though this is completely unacceptable, given the nature of the sport and the frequent and regular contact these guys have with others, particularly the clubs, coaching & conditioning staff, teammates etc. How is it possible that these people’s problems and issues are not noticed? This is not a slight on   Rugby League, but rather a pertinent point regarding how a lack of education, information & awareness has made it possible.


More importantly, there have been instances where young healthy footballers have taken their lives, before they have fulfilled their potential; before they’ve matured to the point of greater independence & serious relationships; before they have begun to experience the full gamut of pleasures life has to offer. The section on ‘Junior Rugby League’ will detail many of the issues pertinent to this group and summarise the significant points needed to be addressed.


The issue of ‘Suicide Prevention’ or the aim of reducing the rate of suicide is something that involves everyone. This is not to say that the burden of responsibility & culpability is therefore attached, it simply means the need for an awareness that suicide can strike at any time, anywhere & basically anyone.




How can this happen??.....& why?




Risk Groups 


One of the aims of ‘suicide prevention’ is the early identification of those people considered to be ‘at risk’ of taking their own lives. In order to establish who may be susceptible there is a need to identify ‘risk factors’ or specific, common & statistically frequent elements pertaining to the suicidal individual. Through a combination of information collected from those with suicidal thoughts, those who have attempted suicide and history gathered concerning actual suicides, clear evidence now exists regarding ‘baseline’ risk factors. 


As with all mental illness, the use of a ‘bio-psycho-social’ model is useful in identifying where ‘risk’ originates and the underlying causes for suicidal ideation. Unfortunately not everyone is tested for their ‘level of risk’. It is not something that the individual is compelled to undertake or willing to participate in. It is only when mental distress is severe that a person may be assessed for possible risk. Sometimes this is almost too late. 


Taking your own life is a choice. It is a decision you make, whether impulsively or planned. One might say that it is your right to do with your life as you please. “It’s my life, nobody else’s”. That’s true and no-one is condemning or judging the person who feels this way. The problem is that life is sacred and should be valued; by society and by the individual themselves. If there are factors relating to you as a total being that predispose you to a choice of suicide as an option, then perhaps these need to be addressed as one would for any inappropriate beliefs or maladaptive coping. Most, if not all, of the ‘seeds’ for potential suicide have resulted from developmental experiences. These combined with stressors & ‘active’ & personal current events, incidents, experiences, issues etc. create a situation where suicide is not just a ‘last resort’ option, but a realistic alternative in the mind of the individual concerned. 


Statistically speaking there are some groups clearly identifiable as being at risk. Others are influenced by factors specific to the individual and contingent upon certain variables. The impact of an event or an experience may be traumatic to one, yet minimal to another. Upbringing & childhood incidents will vary from person to person. There are some individuals that are from only one (1) risk category, yet develop depression or take their own lives. Others may fall into a ‘high risk’ category, yet never develop depression or engage in ‘self harming’ behaviour. There are no hard & fast rules, though history & past evidence strongly suggests the following groups of people & factors involved in the development of mental illness, depressive disorders and/or suicidality. Many of these groups are soundly statistically based and many are specific to the life of the Rugby League player. 






As stated before, age is a significant indicator of ‘risk’. In 2005, 19.3% of all deaths for males aged 15 to 19 years was suicide; 27.1% for ages 20 to 24 years & 24.2% for those aged 25 to 29.





 Males are at statistically greater risk than females, particularly as they relate to the age groups of League players. Of the 2.101 deaths by suicide in 2005, nearly 80% were males.



Ethnic Background:


It is important to assess the ethnic background of an individual due to cultural beliefs & lifestyle and the potential social alienation & demarcation that can be occur.





Statistics indicate the higher levels of drug & alcohol abuse, depression & other mental illness & higher rates of suicide in those of aboriginal origin.



Level of Academic Achievement:


The level of academic achievement indicates statistically that drug & alcohol abuse, antisocial personalities and mental illness per se are more likely in those with lower than average results or those whose educational performance is poor. This is not a ‘slur’ on those who have not achieved or any guarantee that an individual is of less worth or likely to become unwell, it is simply a statistic that research has indicated as being relevant. There are real issues pertaining to educational achievement and these relate to an individual’s capacity for problem solving and implementation of coping strategies. Growth, development & maturity are pertinent as are the social aspects to one’s transition through this particular developmental stage.




Displacement from region of origin (home):


Displacement from home refers to a player’s geographical re-location to join a club. Factors to be taken into consideration are: (1) rural to metropolitan (2) distance (3) age (4) overseas origin. These variables contribute to the degree of risk possible. This point should not be trivialized by considering it to be simply ‘homesickness’ – it is far more complex and far reaching than merely geographical adjustment or emotional insecurity.




History of repeated Concussions:


Recent studies have indicated an increased risk of developing Depression later in life when a player has experienced concussion; particularly if there have been repeated occasions when this has occurred. Remember, the majority of concussions go largely undetected. LOC (loss of consciousness) does not have to be present for concussion to have occurred.




History of Injury or Illness:


Injury & illness impact on an individual’s mental state, particularly sportspeople. Obviously head injuries need to be taken into consideration, but other illnesses & injuries can affect how someone perceives themselves, their future & their career. It also relates to an individual’s capacity to handle stress & pressures and can impinge upon their problem solving abilities.




Family history of Depression or Suicide:


Genetic predisposition & learned behaviour through developmental stages have been shown to increase the possibility of Depression &/or Suicide. Studies have suggested those with a family history of Depression and/or Suicide are more likely to develop depression or depressive illness.




Family History of Mental Illness:



As with Depression & Suicide, the increased possibility of other mental illness such as Schizophrenia is statistically proven when there is a family history of such an illness.




History of Criminality, Aggression or Violence:



Mental Illness is often a concurrent issue for those with a criminal history including, but not exclusively, aggression or violence. Similarly, a family history of criminality, aggression and/or violence should be taken into consideration.




History of Drug &/or Alcohol Abuse:



Oft times, a history of Drug & Alcohol abuse is indicative of limited or poor coping skills. Being primarily ‘depressive’ in nature, these substances can contribute to the development of Depression. Damage to cognitive functioning as a result of abuse can limit an individual’s capacity to implement appropriate problem solving strategies and, in itself, incline the individual to develop Depression.



History of Abuse:


Abuse, be it physical, sexual, psychological or emotional, is a strong precipitant or root cause for the development of mental illness. Illnesses such as Chronic Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders and the manifestation of self harming, risk taking behaviours are but a few of the possible mental health outcomes of abuse. The risk of suicide is higher for those who have experienced such abuse as is the use and abuse of Drugs & Alcohol.




Relationship Difficulties:


There is a very real correlation between Depression & Suicide for those who are experiencing serious relationship difficulties. These may also apply to divorce & child custody issues. Drug & Alcohol abuse can often be linked to problems in relationships; either as a contributing, causative factor or as a ‘self medicating’ maladaptive coping mechanism.




Parental Marital Status:


Whilst one may question the relevance of this, the fact remains that parents are a highly significant part of a persons’ life. Their behaviour & ‘role modelling’ combined with hereditary factors have helped make you who you are. As such, the status of their relationship can have a huge bearing on you as a person, how you view yourself, others & the world in general and your relationships. It is an area that links very well with the previous ‘Relationship Difficulties’ risk factor.







suicide 2 






Suicide ('it affects everyone')

Turn background music off

This video is taken directly from 'You Tube'.





Adolescent Suicide ('How it can occur'...'impulsive' - PERMANENT)

Turn background music off





Teen Suicide 

Turn background music off


 please click on following links for further information

  Facts & Statistics 

  Parasuicide & Self Harm 


Should you have concerns regarding any issue relating to your 'mental or physical well-being', 'Kick off' strongly recommend you seek professional assistance. This may entail contacting your GP or similar clinician (Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Counsellor etc.). You may also contact the appropriate agency or service that might assist you. Irrespective of your choice, ensure you see someone who might help. 






10 Celebrities Who Attempted Suicide Before They Made It Big 

The celebrities listed below have all had a measure of success in their chosen fields, with some going on to reach superstar status.

All of that, however, wouldn’t have happened had their attempts at offing themselves before hitting the big time were as successful as the ones that took the lives of many other celebs. Talk about second chances.

Guess they’re just luckier than those other celebrities who died young.

1. Brigitte Bardot


Bardot has tried to end her life several times, the first of which was when she was a teenager refused permission by her parents to marry film director Roger Vadim until she was 18. She eventually married and divorced Vadim, who launched Bardot to international renown in his 1956 film And God Created Woman.

2. Peter Fonda


Fonda was 10 years old when he shot himself in the stomach with a .22 pistol in 1950, just a few months after the suicide of his own mother.

3. Ozzy Osbourne


The “Godfather of Heavy Metal” has admitted to several suicide attempts, even when he was a teenager.

4. Tuesday Weld


This Emmy- and Oscar-nominated actress had a nervous breakdown at age nine, was an alcoholic by age 12, and tried to kill herself at around the same time by taking aspirin and sleeping pills and chasing them down with a bottle of gin.

5. Billy Joel


Depression brought about by the failure of his band Attila drove Joel, then in his early twenties, to drink furniture polish, which he said “looked tastier than bleach”.He of course survived, and went on to become the sixth best-selling recording artist in the United States according to the RIAA. *on a 'sad note', Billy Joel's daughter 'Alexa' recently attempted suicide....genetic?..check out the 'Mental Health Articles' section of our site for links regarding her particular situation & the circumstances surrounding it. 

6. Drew Carey


Long before The Drew Carey Show, Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Price is Right made him a household name, Carey made two suicide attempts as a teenager, and both attempts are blamed on a very rough childhood where he was, by his admission, sexually molested.

7. Jennifer O’Neill


O’Neill was 14 when she tried to kill herself. There was another incident in 1982 when she shot herself in the abdomen with a gun belonging to her then husband, but she claims it was accidental.

8. Greg Louganis


A serious knee injury at the age of 12 that dashed his hopes of becoming an Olympic gymnast drove Louganis to try to commit suicide three times. He survived and went on to become the greatest Olympic diver the world has ever seen.

9. Ginger Lynn


The top porn star of the 1980s tried to kill herself at the age of 12 by taking a bunch of various medicines. She claimed she did it to get away from the constant abuse inflicted by her mother.

10. Eminem


In 1996, Eminem took more than a dozen Tylenol after being dumped by on-again, off-again wife Kim Mathers. Three years later, his first major studio album, The Slim Shady LP, became one of the biggest-selling albums of 1999.



Please click on the following links for information relating to:

Parasuicide & Self Harm

Suicide Facts & Statistics 





This page last updated: 

Kick Off 'Survey'

12 simple questions for essential feedback & service improvement


"Kick Off' is a 'world first' program & service dedicated specifically to a sport....in this instance; the great game of Rugby League.



Bookmark this page
Twitter Google Bookmarks Facebook Yahoo My Web

Latest mental health news, articles, facts & information.

(please click)






Shane Webcke 'Hard Road'







Beyond Blue

beyond blue




bravehearts logo

Men of League

men of league

Mensline Australia

mensline logo

Alcoholics Anonymous

aa logo


quit logo

The Black Dog Institute

black dog logo

SANE Australia

sane logo


lifeline logo






Comments & Feedback

"Keep up the good work"

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







 Supporters & Sponsors

 Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Wynnum Manly Seagulls

The Jingle Factory

The Jingle Factory

sponsor needed

sponsor needed

sponsor needed

sponsor needed

sponsor needed

sponsor needed

sponsor needed

sponsor needed