Mick Fanning opens up on mental health struggles after losing third brother Ed in 2024

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Surfing legend Mick Fanning opens up about his mental health struggles following the loss of his third brother, urging young men to do the “bravest thing” they can and speak out and seek help.

Fanning, a three-time world surfing champion, recently said goodbye to his brother Ed in a touching memorial service that saw mourners paddle out into the waves at Snapper Rocks, a famous surfing spot in Queensland.

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

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

“You know you best,” Fanning said.

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

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

The Titans will support Top Blokes and Logan’s Legacy in their Round 14 match after losing Foran’s stepson Logan Steinwede.

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

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

Ed Fanning died in March from the effects of a heart attack after a cut on his foot became infected while working at the Madasurf camp in Madagascar.

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

His other brother Peter died of heart complications in 2015.

Fanning said the loss of Sean was especially hard because everyone told him to “be strong.”

He interpreted this as a sign of “emotionlessness” and as a sign that he did not let anyone get close to him.

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

“People would do the same thing, they sit there and say, ‘How are you?’

“I’ve learned throughout my life that you have to deal with these things immediately because they only get bigger and worse in your head.”

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

“When I traveled, I always called a friend or talked to a parent or family. The people closest to you have unconditional love. They will do whatever they can to help you,” Fanning said.

“It’s so easy to get in touch with these people. And it shouldn’t be embarrassing at all, it’s braver to go out and say what you think.”

Foran also spoke openly about his struggles, revealing that his wife Karina Ormsby saved his life when his world fell apart due to his mental health issues and gambling addiction.

In April, Fanning led the memorial paddle for his brother Ed and shared a tribute on his Instagram profile.

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

“I know that Ed is always with me. The memories and the good times we spent together over so many years will always stay with me. I am grateful for that.”

“There were some incredible stories told today as people told their versions of the funny and wild shit he did.

“Please spread the word, because Ed wants you all to laugh.”

Originally published as Surf legend Mick Fanning speaks about mental health issues following death of third brother

Read related topics:surfing

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