New game plan for Alan

Alan Stringer knows a thing or two about the value of support.

A diagnosis of Query Fever (Q Fever)* turned the former South Australian National Football League player and coach’s life upside down 15 years ago. What followed was two shoulder operations and five years of limited work – eventually, a deep depression set in.

“Depression is a hideous disease and people thought we were tough as footballers but we’re human you know,” Alan said.

“I was institutionalised five times and then my marriage ended. Fortunately, I eventually connected with a good psychiatrist and had great friends who gave me interim jobs in horticulture and truck driving.”

Needing ongoing work, Alan came to MatchWorks where Employment Consultants Claire and Alex supported the Adelaide-based job seeker to find work as a storeman at Simmonds Heating and Cooling.

Alan and the team at Simmonds Heating and Cooling in Adelaide.

“I am bloody loving it! It‘s been tiring but I am getting used to the 15 to 20 hours a week,” Alan said.

“I now have a marvellous job with people who understand my health issues and have become like family.”

Alan said Claire and Alex had been a great support in his journey to work.

“They have their hearts in the right place and help people find their dream job,” he said.

“Work has given me structure, more discipline and more confidence. Plus Mark and Sarah (from Simmonds Heating and Cooling) support me to take time out from work and talk about depression at local community events.

“It’s important to let people know that they are not on their own – help is out there.”

Alan reflected that he was far prouder of his achievements in the past 12 months than anything he ever did on the football field.

“Footy is just a game…this was a matter of life or death for me and I am incredibly grateful to be where I am today.”

Almost half of Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. At MatchWorks, we support people with an illness, injury or disability back into the workforce. Our teams get to know you first and then deliver tailored support so your personal goals can be achieved. Contact us to find out more.

Read more about Alan Stringer’s work raising awareness of depression

*Q fever is a bacterial infection that can cause a severe flu-like illness. For some people, Q fever can affect their health and ability to work for many years.