Sunday 10th November is the tenth anniversary of Robert Enke’s tragic death. In commemoration, the DFB and Robert Enke Foundation, with the support of the DFL and cooperation of regional associations are calling for united action from German football. The #gedENKEminute at Sunday’s matches will give players and fans the opportunity to remember Robert Enke while also raising awareness about depression and the existing methods of treatment and help that people can turn to.
Clubs at every level of German football are being asked to participate, from the Bundesliga to the Kreisliga, from professional to amateur. Even clubs that are playing on Friday or Saturday are invited to take part in any way they see fit. For example, this will be the case for the Bundesliga game between FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund on Saturday evening, which will be broadcast in around 200 countries and seen by about 900 million people worldwide.
DFB President Fritz Keller says: “Together with the Robert Enke Foundation and the DFL we soon agreed that, on the tenth anniversary of Robert Enke’s death, the whole of German football should send out a message. Anyone feeling overwhelmed or hopeless should be able to get the help they need without worrying about exclusion or their job security. I would especially like to thank Teresa Enke for her involvement.”
Robert Enke, the Germany goalkeeper at the time, was found dead on 10th November 2009. He was suffering from depression. His wife Teresa Enke, CEO of the Robert Enke Foundation, says: “A lot of people are afraid to speak publically about depression as a disease. In the years since his death, I’ve learnt how important it is to talk about Robert so that those affected, as well as their relatives and friends lose the fear of confronting it.”
Studies show that one in five Germans will suffer from depression at some time in their life. More than 10,000 people commit suicide due to depression in Germany every year. The disease can be treated through early detection and therapy.
On the day of Robert Enke’s death, the national team had gathered to start preparing for the planned international match with Chile on 14th November in Cologne. Oliver Bierhoff, the Director of Germany’s national teams and academies says: “We were hit really hard by this tragic loss of life. Robert was not only an outstanding goalkeeper and great international, but a lovely person who enriched our team a great deal. The topic of depression is now being more widely addressed. In particular, the Enke Foundation, under the leadership of Teresa Enke, is making a real difference.”
The DFB, DFL and Hannover 96 founded the Robert Enke Foundation in 2010. Teresa Enke and Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn recently launched the ‘Impression Depression’ project, a virtual reality experience designed to help those not affected to understand the effects clinical depression can have.
As part of the event, the foundation is launching the 17,500 Euros “Promotion of Mental Health in Youth Sport” prize. It will be awarded to Olympic training centres, junior football academies and sports schools, which campaign for the mental health of their young athletes. German football wants to build on this message with the #gedENKEminute.