The chief of psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital admires the courage of Jonathan Drouin and Carey Price of Habs to go public with their problems.

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Dr. Karl Looper is the chief of psychiatry at Jewish General Hospital and is happy that Jonathan Drouin and Carey Price of the Canadiens have come forward to publicize their mental health issues.

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Drouin left the Canadiens near the end of last season and missed the team’s entire playoff run to the Stanley Cup final, later explaining that he was battling anxiety and the resulting insomnia that sometimes made him go through three. nights in a row without sleep. Drouin returned to the team for the start of this season.

Price voluntarily entered the NHL / NHLPA player assistance program last month and spent 30 days there, later announcing that he was dealing with substance use.

“In recent years I have allowed myself to get to a very dark place and I did not have the tools to face that struggle,” Price announced.

Price has now rejoined his teammates and is working to get back in shape to play again after undergoing offseason surgery for a torn meniscus in his knee.

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“I think it has a huge impact,” Looper said of Drouin and Price going public about their issues. “There are still many people who are very alone in their suffering. Hearing it from someone else is the reason we refer people to support groups, to advocacy organizations. They are heroes, famous people or well-known people in the media. Seeing on the cover that someone has actually acknowledged that they have a mental health issue and are now taking steps to do something about it is really very encouraging and moves everyone in the right direction.

“It just shows you how mental health issues just strike across the board,” added Looper. “Any cultural origin, any socioeconomic origin.”

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Train Canadian Stéphane Richer.
Train Canadian Stéphane Richer. Photo by Dave Sidaway /Montreal Gazette Archives

On Thursday, former Canadiens player Stéphane Richer received the Douglas Utting Foundation Medal in recognition of his efforts to raise public awareness of mental health at an annual event held by the Department of Psychiatry at Jewish General Hospital. Richer had two 50-goal seasons with the Canadiens, won a Stanley Cup with the team in 1986, won another championship with the New Jersey Devils in 1995, and scored 421 goals during his 17-year career while also dealing with depression.

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For the past decade, Richer has openly shared her personal experience with depression, speaking publicly about it and hoping she can help others deal with it now.

“If I can help someone or bring a smile to someone, I’m happy,” said Richer. “It’s funny because in the past I was very shy to speak in public. He would talk fast and be very, very nervous. But I guess as you get older and with the experience over the years meeting people who really care about me and have given me confidence to be honest, to be myself and people seem to appreciate it and I am very proud of that. ” .

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Drouin, Price and Richer are living proof that mental problems can affect anyone in life, no matter how famous they are, how much money they make or how perfect their life may seem to those who look at it from the outside.

“I always tell people that if they don’t feel comfortable in their own skin or their tank always feels empty, they’re never happy, they have a problem,” said Richer. “You are looking for some happiness, but something is missing. Do not wait. My advice is to sit down with someone you can really trust and say, ‘Listen to me, I think I have some issues. What do you think?’ If you think you can do everything on your own and tomorrow will be fine, maybe tomorrow will get darker and darker and that’s when people make mistakes. “

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Looper pointed out that there is a difference between having a bad day every now and then and suffering from depression.

“On a bad day every now and then, it helps to look at the wording,” said the doctor. “A bad day sounds very normal, but when it really affects your functioning, you can no longer recover, you can no longer enjoy life, relate to people in a social way, function at work, function in your family life, that is a sign that it is more serious. And then the other part is when you say a bad day every now and then, when it becomes daily, or at least most days, when it’s really persistent and affects function, those are indications that this is something else. serious. Of course, one of the worst consequences of depression can be suicide. So at any time, if it really brings you into a state of mind such that you are contemplating suicide, that of course is a red flag and you need to seek help. “

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Looper admires Drouin and Price’s courage in going public with their problems.

“I think it’s a gift to others,” Looper said. “Because knowing it, acknowledging it, and actually taking action to fix the problem will help other people. So I was very impressed that (Price) did that and gave more details about it, just like Stéphane Richer has been doing for a long time. “

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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