Jeff Kennett says Lance Franklin’s decision to announce his mental health battle could save the lives of other young men and women suffering from mental health issues.

Speaking on 3AW Radio today, Kennett praised both Franklin in declaring his mental health issue and Sydney in the way it handled the announcement.

Kennett said he had “no doubt” that Franklin’s decision could save lives in the future.

“You normally find sports men and women disguising their illness until after they leave their sport,” Kennett told 3AW.

“To do it while you’re still a marquee player sets a wonderful example to all men and women, but particularly to sports men and women.

“Buddy’s decision will encourage many other people, particularly young sportsmen and women, if they are having to deal with issues of mental health, that their health is more important than their sport until they get back into a good place.

“I congratulate the Sydney Football Club for putting the health of a marquee player above playing football,” he said.

“I hope recovery comes quickly. I have no doubt that the community at large will support Buddy Franklin as he returns to good health.

“I want to stress again how much this indicates how we have changed the goal posts in how we deal with mental health and depression in this country over┬áthe last few years.”

Kennett, the former Premier of Victoria, was President at Hawthorn for six of Franklin’s nine years at the club and is currently the chairman of the Beyond Blue Foundation.