This fall, the star goalie of the Montreal Canadiens took everyone by surprise by saying that he had “fallen into a state of darkness which he [lui était] become impossible to go out without help ”. Carey Price entered the NHL Player Assistance Program and visited a substance use treatment center.
A few weeks earlier, it was striker Jonathan Drouin who opened up about the reasons for his break last spring. The 26-year-old hockey player revealed on TVA Sport and RDS that he suffered from anxiety disorders and insomnia, problems he has been dragging on for years.
Internationally, gymnast Simone Biles and tennis player Naomi Osaka also shared their mental health issues.
The Dre Christine Grou, president of the Ordre des psychologues du Québec, sees these public outings in the world of elite sport with a “good eye”. “We now know that there are more and more athletes who also have psychological monitoring, and not just physical monitoring from the perspective of overall health. We have never embodied the adage that it takes a healthy mind in a healthy body so well. “
According to her, the fact that athletes speak openly about their mental health problems has a “very positive impact” on the population by “demystifying” the fact that anyone can have difficulty in terms of mental health at some point. of his life. “Whether in sports, business or the arts, when famous personalities come to say in the public place that they are grappling with certain mental health problems, it normalizes things a little”, affirms the Dre Grou.
“Just as athletes aren’t immune to breaking a bone, they’re not immune to psychological injury,” she adds.
Taboos are difficult to break, however, she notes. Despite all the awareness-raising work that has been done in recent decades “to reduce the stigma”, mental health problems are still too often perceived as a “threat to the ego”, explains the psychologist.
“There are still a lot of people who interpret the fact of needing to consult for a psychological health problem as a weakness,” she laments. Spontaneously, people will consult more easily when they have digestive ailments or a sprained ankle than when they have a problem with mood or anxiety. Often, they will drag this out for weeks, saying to themselves: it will pass. “
This type of public outing of a well-known personality usually results in an increase in consultations. However, this time around, the president of the College of Psychologists is unable to make a “linear equation” between Carey Price’s revelations and the requests for consultations which are exploding due to the pandemic. “I’ve been practicing for 30 years and I’ve never seen a saturated cabinet like that. This is unheard of. “