Dr David Marsh is a huge advocate for men’s health, especially the mental health of young sportsmen, many of whom he says have the crazy notion they are bulletproof and indestructible.
He says their problem is that because they are extremely fit elite athletes, they can hide the fact they are suffering from some form of mental illness.
David Marsh is a general practitioner who has been involved in top level sporting clubs as a medical officer and a mentor to players.
In recent years he has seen more cases of depression in sportspeople than ever before. To the outside world they come across as hale and hearty but underneath their façade lies a mental health issue.
David says the extreme pressure to achieve peak performance is most often the cause for them not being able to cope mentally.
At the other end of the spectrum are the every-day blokes who enjoy a few beers with their mates, do little or no exercise at all, still smoke and eat all the yummy foods that are not good for them.
They also think they are bulletproof because they have never taken a sickie in their adult life and never seen a doctor.
To get them thinking about their health David uses a sporting analogy to grab their attention. He talks about four quarters of Aussie Rules or two halves of Soccer telling them it’s in their best interests to have a check-up at least once every year at Grand Final time, sometimes every quarter or twice a year.
However, his greatest success in getting this message across is when he talks to an audience full of women. The feedback he receives from wives, girlfriends, mothers and sisters that they were able to get their man to see a doctor is very fulfilling
David is a visiting medical officer at Epworth Hospital Camberwell and on the Mental Health Tribunal of Victoria.
He received his Medal of Australia alongside his wife, Clair for services to the 2002 Bali terrorist bombing victims, was named Herald Sun Victorian Of The year and has become a Life Ambassador for the Australia Day Committee of Victoria.
David travels from Melbourne.