Sabrina Frederick has said the “heartbreaking” death of fellow AFLW player Jacinda Barclay this week should remind people that mental health in the sports world and beyond needs to be discussed more.
Barclay, 29, was found dead at her home near Perth on Monday. She had represented Australia in baseball and American football, and played 23 women’s Australian Rules football games for the GWS Giants.
“I don’t know her personally, [but] I have played against her,” SAS Australia contestant Frederick told HuffPost Australia.
“I think mental health, it’s definitely a topic that’s spoken about more and more, but it still needs to be brought to life. It’s a real shame that someone so young… she felt so alone or the way that she did for it to end that way.”
Frederick said “the whole AFL community is so close” and that some of her teammates were close to Barclay and have been affected by the tragic loss.
She said now is the time to speak more openly about mental health, on and off the field.
“I think we’re definitely getting better at talking about mental health, but we still have such a way to go, and I’m hoping that people see this and have conversations as well as mourning, because I think that’s what she needed and that’s what she would want as well.
“I hope people reach out to people to make sure they’re going all right because at the moment there’s a lot of stuff going on and a lot of people that aren’t.”
On Wednesday, Barclay’s family confirmed her death in a statement.
“She was a shining comet that soared through this world casting her radiant light of love on all she met,” they said.
“Though that comet has now shattered into a million pieces, the memory of it will remain a beacon for all women in high-profile sports to strive to excel, to dare to be great while staying humble and proud.”
AFL Head of Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone also shared her condolences in a statement issued Wednesday.
“There are few words that we can express at this time, other than to convey our sadness and sincerest condolences to the Barclay family,” Livingstone said.
“Jacinda’s loss will be taken very hard by so many people within our game across all levels.
“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to express my deepest compassion to the Barclay family, friends and colleagues.”
If you or someone you know needs help:
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
Headspace on 1800 650 890
Outside of Australia, please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.
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