EDMONTON –

Montreal Canadiens star Carey Price reignited the conversation about mental health in sports Thursday after announcing he would be stepping away from the team for undisclosed reasons.

A joint press release from the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) revealed that the 34-year-old goalie would be participating in the NHLPA assistance program, which helps players and their families with mental health, substance abuse and other matters.

And while specific details of his leave have not been discussed, Price’s wife took to Instagram Thursday posting about the importance of “putting your mental health first” while commending her husband for “showing up for himself and his family.”

Price is not the first, nor the last, professional athlete to take time away from sport to focus on their mental health. In fact, he isn’t the only Canadien.

Forward Jonathan Drouin recently rejoined the team after taking a five-month break due to battles with anxiety and insomnia.

During the Olympics, U.S. gymnast star Simone Biles inspired dozens of other Olympians to speak out about their battles with mental health after dropping out of several high-profile events in Tokyo.

In some ways, these athletes are sparking a watershed moment in sports – an industry where players are often portrayed to be tough and infallible, despite being placed under constant scrutiny.

“Competitive sport, at all levels, is a stressful environment. You are putting yourself on the line – by playing, by running, by competing – usually with lots of people watching,” Penny Werther, a sports psychologist who has worked with dozens of Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes, told CTVNews.ca by phone from Calgary Thursday.

“It’s so easy for the public in particular to criticize.”

Werther, who works one-on-one with high-level athletes as a mental performance coach, says athletes like Price are shedding light on how common it is for athletes to struggle mentally – a brave move she says is helping to evolve attitudes in sports.

“It takes one or two brave souls to step up and say I’m struggling psychologically and I need some help. And as we as a few more folks do that, then it becomes more normal to do so. And I don’t think it has been [normal] for …….

Source: https://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/from-carey-price-to-simone-biles-evolving-attitudes-help-athletes-address-mental-health-1.5615831

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