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Ask for Help: Why Men's Hockey Players Don't Ask for Help

Lack of trust that confidentiality will be respected was one barrier preventing NHL players from seeking help, according to a UBC study.

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Seeking mental health help after death of former Canuck Rick Rypien and other athletes, UBC study found .

"Despite some extreme and unfortunate cases and the fact that many athletes openly suffer from mental We have not taken concrete steps to provide some information.Please support us," said Katie Crawford, who completed the research as part of her master's degree at UBC's School of Kinesiology.

"One of her main barriers to asking for help is that people use the word 'stigma' as a catchall," she said from England on Wednesday. She is working towards her PhD in college. of Bath.

"One thing most participants expressed was that there was a lot of talk in the industry, but not much systemic change at a basic level."

Crawford grew up immersed in sports. Her father, Mark Crawford, once played for and later coached the Vancouver Canucks, and Katie spent five seasons with her UBC Thunderbirds as a member of her volleyball team.

She warned that NHL players may not be accessible. She warned that she would likely only be given 10 minutes if she got access, but instead found the players pouring their hearts into it.

"She had great conversations with macho hockey players," said Crawford. "The 19 men I spoke to shared an hour with a stranger, so if people think they don't have to, that's frankly not true.

Of the 19 current and recently retired male players aged 24 to 42 she interviewed, all but one played in the NHL.

Crawford, who has always had an interest in mental health and wellness growing up, worked in B.C. for a year at the Crisis Center's Suicide Prevention Hotline where she learned how to play hockey.

"The missing links I was noticing wereLet's Talk and It was in all these campaigns such as Hockey TalksThese are beautiful and trying to get the message out how important it is to reach out. is important, but people don't."

She said it would be a disgrace if players found it easy or difficult to reach out or say they needed help.

``You hear the word 'stigma' a lot. ', said Crawford. "I thought it was nice. I know there is stigma. But what does that sound like and what does it look like on an everyday level?"

Some prominent examples, she said, are the existing culture of silence and suspicion.

"Everyone should look after himself." I know there are people out there who can help, but are they really here to help me.If so (if there are resources available) what will happen to other players.

"A lot of people said they got burned when they reached out for support," Crawford said.

Team She said it doesn't matter if the psychologist actually broke confidentiality.

``You have this resource.

She and co-author Mark Beauchamp, a professor at UBC's School of Kinesiology, said the league and the NHL Players Association needed to strengthen and ensure confidentiality. said there is. And normalize the conversation that it's okay to ask for help.

"But if so, how are you going to do it, and will it work? Because if you do it the wrong way, you're turning people off," Beauchamp said. Told. "Like the old adage, it takes a lifetime to build trust, but breaking confidentiality can quickly revoke that trust.

"I think you're starting to hear that from players' responses.

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