An AFL legend who has seen both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, Gary Buckenara wants to share his story to try and help people understand the warning signs around how depression can affect anyone. Gary Buckenara’s decorated VFL career with Hawthorn included winning four premierships in the ’80s, making the All-Australian team three times as well as the Hawthorn Team of the Century, and being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2010.
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Testimonials for Gary Buckenara
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Gary Buckenara's Biography
An AFL legend who has seen both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, Gary Buckenara wants to share his story to try and help people understand the warning signs around how depression can affect anyone.
Gary Buckenara’s decorated VFL career with Hawthorn included winning four premierships in the ’80s, making the All-Australian team three times as well as the Hawthorn Team of the Century, and being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2010.
Buckenara also played for Subiaco in the WAFL, later coaching the club and the Sydney Swans in the ’90s. He returned to Hawthorn in 2000 and as head of recruiting, played a significant role in assembling the club’s 2008 and 2013-15 premiership sides.
Providing an open discussion into his career and the events that happened throughout his football journey, Bucky touches on everything from his 4 Premierships and captaining his state in the State of Origin, all the way through to his brush with attempted suicide.
Bucky's story is aimed to help people understand that depression is something that generally happens down the track after tragedies, personal injuries, financial hardships, relationship breakdowns or any type of trauma, and wants people to understand this, especially if they are finding it hard to feel happy, noticed a change in their personality, or are shying away from engaging with family or friends.
These can be signs of depression and can be indicators of the need to speak out and discuss this with your doctor, partner, a close friend or even call the mental health helpline for advice.
Gary talks about identifying the warning signs to be aware of not only in yourself but also for your family and friends who may have been through some hard times.
“The Am I OK and asking someone R U OK can and does save lives and this is why I am passionate to get this message out there.”
Speaking Topics Include
Gary Buckenara’s Mental Health Presentation – The highs and lows of an AFL champion’s premierships and football success to a personal journey of depression, hardship and trauma
Key take-aways from Bucky's presentation:
- Be aware of your feelings, are you finding it hard to enjoy your life, feeling unhappy and maybe shying away from meeting family and friends.
- Be aware of your moods in terms of thoughts of hopelessness, getting angry over minor things, putting on a brave happy face in public but when alone the unhappiness returns.
- Have you had major traumas in your past, financial, relationship or family, these traumas can trigger depression many years down the track, and even a small incident could be the catalyst to break you down?
- Once you realise that you need help and reach out for help to a family member, family friend or your GP, the darkness will slowly lighten, but you must find the right person to help you and one you feel a good connection with, it took me 5 years to find the right counsellor and from that point in time my journey to manage this terrible and silent disease, and to find purpose in life again.
- Reaching out for help is your first step and this is the hardest one, and from there it gets better, but you must be aware of and understand your feelings on a daily basis to be able to manage anxiety and depression, as it is an ongoing and requires lifelong awareness for sufferers but a happy and normal life is definitely achievable with the right medications and support.