‘Courageous’: Candid Fanning’s admission


Surfing legend Mick Fanning has spoken openly about his mental health struggles after losing his third brother, urging young people to do the “brave” thing and speak out and seek help.

Fanning, a three-time world surfing champion, recently said goodbye to his brother Ed at a moving memorial service where mourners paddled through the waves of Snapper Rocks, a famous Queensland surf break.

Ed was Mick’s last surviving brother after his other two brothers, Sean and Peter, died in 1998 and 2015 respectively.

Appearing with NRL star Kieran Foran and fellow surfing champion Joel Parkinson in a video posted on the Gold Coast Titans website, Fanning revealed that his family and friends, including his long friendship with Parkinson, had helped him get through the dark times.

“They know you best,” Fanning said.

“If anything ever happens to me, he (Parkinson) just looks at me and says, ‘What’s wrong?’

“It’s great to have those people there.”

The Titans will support Top Blokes and Logan’s Legacy as part of their Round 14 match, following the loss of Foran’s stepson Logan Steinwede.

In the video, Fanning said there was a misconception about the mental health of athletes.

“When you take all that away, you’re just human, like everyone else,” he said.

Ed Fanning died in March after suffering heart complications after a cut on his foot became infected while working at the Madasurf camp in Madagascar.

In 1998, Mick lost his older brother Sean in a car accident, when he was just 20 years old.

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His other brother, Peter, died from heart complications in 2015.

Fanning said losing Sean was particularly difficult, as everyone told him to “be strong.”

He interpreted it as not showing “any emotion” and not letting anyone in.

“So I had this wall that only came down when I was alone in my room,” Fanning said.

“People would do the same thing, they’re sitting there and they’re like, ‘How are you?’

“As I went on in life, I learned that you have to deal with those things at the time because they will only get bigger and worse in your head.”

He urged other people facing mental health issues to open up, saying it was “the bravest thing” to do.

“For me, during my travels, it was always calling a friend or talking to a parent or family. The people closest to you have unconditional love. They will try to do everything they can to try to help you,” Fanning said.

“These people are very easy to get in touch with. And in no way should anyone be shameful, it is braver if you do go and speak.”

Foran has also been open about his struggles, revealing that his wife Karina Ormsby saved his life while his world was falling apart due to his mental health and gambling problems.

In April, Fanning led the row in memory of her brother Ed and shared a tribute on her Instagram profile.

“I want to thank my family and friends for all the incredible support they have shown not only me but everyone who loved Ed,” she said.

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“I know Ed is always with me. The memories and good times we shared for so many years will always be with me. I give thanks for that.

“Some incredible stories were told today as people told their versions of the fun and wild things he used to do.

“Please keep telling them that Ed would like them all to laugh.”



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