The death of Robert Enke marks the ninth anniversary on 10th November.
His widow Teresa continues to fight in memory of her husband for better understanding of depression.
Together with former football professionals, officials and professors, she has developed tools to better support sufferers.
By Jörg Marwedel, Hanover
One month ago, Teresa Enke wrote a letter to Max Eberl. The manager of Borussia Mönchengladbach had said that the suicide death of the then National Keeper Robert Enke was indeed for all a great shock, but was "not so lasting in the thought that it is still considered as a warning example." Enke's widow draws another balance on the ninth anniversary of her husband's death (10.11.).
Just this year, she wrote Eberl, world stars like Andrés Iniesta, Serena Williams, the English national football player Danny Rose or the NBA players Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan have openly reported on their depression or other mental stress. This shows that in sports as well as in society, there is now a greater understanding of mental illness: unlike 15 years ago, when Robert Enke was struggling with his first deepening depression, it is increasingly understood that depression is no longer a stigma.
"A professional footballer is often confronted with many injustices"
The sports psychologist Martin Meichelbeck of Greuther Fürth sees the statements of Per Mertesacker as a warning example and believes that constant psychological care for professional footballers is urgently needed.
Interview by Max Ferstl
Teresa Enke struggles daily with the Robert Enke Foundation against old prejudices and tries to give affected people help. She has returned to Hannover, where Robert Enke played for 96. At the invitation of the Alliance Against Depression, she has just held a panel discussion in the State Museum. A good 200 people came when they talked to moderator Ronald Reng (author of the Enke biography and good friend of Robert) and the psychiatry professor Marc Ziegenbein about "sport as a form of therapy – can I run away from depression?" was talking about. This type of conversation is often more appealing to those interested than a scientific paper.
Small budget, big impact
Teresa Enke also talked about herself. The former pentathlete, who wanted to free herself from her sleepless nights after a lowswitch, initially exaggerated her as an old competitive athlete, she said. Now she only runs without a clock and does not take part in competitions any more – and she does that well.
Its foundation is one of the smallest in this area, with an annual budget of around 450,000 euros (of which the DFL, the DFB and Hannover 96 account for the largest part). But it has a not to be underestimated effect. CEO Jan Baßler (in the main occupation deputy director of the Lower Saxony Football Association) says that the greatest impact is linked to the person Teresa Enke. She had said after the death of her husband, "We thought we could do it all, we thought it would be love." But that was a mistake. So she decided to develop aids with her foundation.
The Enke app, which has since been downloaded by about 50,000 people, is a practical support. It explains, including a self-recognition test and various phone numbers. There is a hotline that has been set up together with the Aachen psychiatry professor Frank Schneider and includes more than 70 therapists nationwide. Usually, needy people often need six months to get a place with an expert, here it's usually only six days. "Some of them already cried because they had a conversation in such a short time," says Jan Baßler, who calls the hotline a "success project".