IMG_2316Facing four losses on the trot, fans of Sydney FC could breathe a sigh of relief over the weekend after their team took out the Beyondblue Hyundai A-League Cup in a pulsating encounter against the Melbourne Victory.

The regular season match played at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium in front of just under 19,000 fans last Saturday evening was the third time Sydney FC had partnered with Beyondblue to raise awareness about depression, anxiety and men’s health.

Rates of depression and anxiety amongst gay men and women and transgender people are much higher than the general population with a La Trobe University study of 4,000 LGBT people released last year finding that almost 80 percent of participants had experienced at least one episode of intense anxiety in the last 12 months, a Beyondblue spokesperson told the Star Observer.

“This is largely due to the increased discrimination and stigma that they face,” he said.

“Beyondblue celebrates diversity and fully supports the inclusion of everyone in football and more broadly in sport, which is a wonderful way to unite people.”

Despite being down to 10 men following a red card to fullback Marc Warren midway through the first half, Sydney FC managed to hold on to a 3-2 victory having initially led the encounter 2-0 before a stirring fightback by Melbourne Victory saw them quickly level things up. Tellingly, it was a penalty tucked away by Sydney FC’s inspirational captain, Alessandro Del Piero, in the 37th minute of a frenetic first half, that eventually settled the affair in the home team’s favour. Having lost their previous three matches, during which they remained scoreless, Sydney FC coach Frank Farina can now look forward to building upon the result as the season progresses.

Handing the Cup to Del Piero after the match, Beyondblue chairman, Jeff Kennett, said that the A-League match was an important opportunity to spread the message about good mental health.

“Over the course of their lifetime, one in eight Australian men will experience depression and one in five will experience some type of anxiety disorder,” he said.

“These conditions are incredibly common, but too many men don’t seek support because they wrongly think it’s a sign of weakness.

“This is a tragic statistic and it’s vital that men know that depression and anxiety can affect anyone, even the toughest of blokes, and that seeking support is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata said he was proud of his club’s ongoing partnership with Beyondblue and the role it’s played in inspiring people to tackle depression and anxiety.

“I have no doubt that our partnership with beyondblue has raised a tremendous amount of awareness and helped countless people take back control of their life,” he said.

Players from both clubs will continue to show their support for better community mental health over the next month by growing moustaches for Movember, while supporters will also have the chance to win either a signed Sydney FC or Melbourne Victory jersey.

INFO: To win a chance to win a signed Sydney FC or Melbourne Victory jersey, visit here and make a donation.

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