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17-February-2020
17-February-2020 15:39
in General
by Admin

by Hayley

Two weeks have passed since former jump jockey, James Banks, took his own life. This weekend, tv presenter Caroline Flack, ended hers.  

We can try to empathise, attempt to understand 'why?', but only those who have been on the brink themselves can truly know what makes someone feel that this is their only way out, their only chance of peace.

In recent years, the racing community has lost too many, too soon. For some the pressures can feel immense, criticism and scrutiny too much to take. For others, the struggle starts after their career ends. Perhaps forced into early retirement through injury and with no plan moving forward, unable to pick themselves up and 'look on the bright side' and unable to recreate that 'buzz' they got from racing. 

I think that by now we all realise that depression is not always visible on the surface, the biggest smiles and the loudest laughter distracts from what is going on inside, but it is our duty as friends and family to listen, to look out for warning signs and be there when a loved one needs us most. Caroline Flack wrote only a few months ago, that she'd reached out to a friend only to be called 'draining'. One can only imagine what that friend must now be feeling. 

Any current or former jockey affected by this news can obtain support by speaking to the PJA, IJF, or by directly contacting the PJA’s provider of counselling services – Sporting Chance –  on 0778 000 8877, while anyone else in racing should call Racing Welfare on 0800 6300 443.

Click here for a full list of helplines for a variety of circumstances and mental health problems.

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