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Photo Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a break because of mental health is important, especially in hockey

There’s a human behind the hockey player, always.

When Carey Price entered the NHL & NHLPA’s player assistance program, it was a call for help. Whatever he’s going through is more significant than the game of hockey.

For anyone, that decision takes guts. To even seek out mental health help is incredibly tough for some.

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Price is one of the best hockey players on earth, and for him to do this does a lot of good. It does good for the game, it does good for the players, and it even does good for the fans. It shows that it’s okay to seek help for mental health.

It’s important to talk about this on a day like today, World Mental Health day. However, the conversation should never stick to one or two days throughout the year.

This should be to be an ongoing conversation that occurs every day.

Throughout recent years, the discussion regarding mental health has grown. People are speaking up about it, even NHL players. When players ask for help, fans see it, and some will seek out help themselves.

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It’s something I did, and I encourage everyone else to do the same.

Happiness is a powerful tool in life. When you’re happy, you can feel on top of the world. But when you’re struggling, you feel the reverse effect. Sometimes, you can feel helpless. It’s an up and down battle that people, including myself, go through every day.

But seeking help is a big step. I can remember how difficult it was for me before I found therapy. And even when you find it, you’re not going to change right away. The most important thing is knowing that this pain isn’t forever. It’s not permanent.

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It felt like that for me, and I’ll be honest, it still does. But the more you work and help yourself, the more you step back into the light and start to heal.

Jonathan Drouin was someone who left the game of hockey to focus on himself. To “enjoy life.” He’s now returned, and he’s both happy and proud of his decision.

Again, that takes guts.

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More familiar with the Leafs, Josh Ho-Sang spoke on Wednesday about doing the same.

I think since last year, I was in Europe, and then coming back here, I think it’s been a lot of learning about myself. I think you learn how resilient you can be, and I also think you realise how important it is to have people who help you. Like I went to therapy, I talked to my friends, I talked to my family, I outsourced, like I talked to a lot of people who maybe weren’t involved in hockey, just involved in the regular work world. I think sometimes being able to receive perspective from other people and also being able to express how you feel in a non-judgemental environment, I think that that can really help you find out about yourself and grow, and that’s something I recommend to everyone and for me, that’s definitely how I’ve learned about myself and in terms of what I’ve learned is just to keep plugging away.

Talking to someone can be one of the most important things to becoming happy. I’ve learnt that the more you hold things in, the more they boil up inside you. There will eventually be a point where it all comes out, and that’s not always healthy.

But, I’m not a therapist. I’m just someone who loves the game of hockey. I also love seeing people happy.

I’ll be honest for a second: when I follow the game of hockey, I’m interested in the person more than the game. Hockey is an incredible sport, but the human being playing it is even more special. Everyone has their own stories, and it’s so fascinating to see what people have gone through to get to where they are.

And for me, yesterday, today, and every day going forward, the person playing the game is more important than the game itself.

For Price, whatever he’s going through is most important for him and his family. When you want to become happy, the game of hockey comes second. I hope from now on, when people see someone like Price seeking help, they do the same if it’s needed.

This is a step in the right direction for both the sport and us, the people.

Find more resources for Mental Health here.