When Angela Price, wife of marquee Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, announced on her Instagram that he would be putting his time to focus on his family and his mental health for a month it shocked the world.

Price’s wife posted the message on Oct. 7, as Price, voluntarily entered the NHL assistance program. The news was released by NHL and National Hockey League Players’ Association.

Price’s actions are an opportunity and open up a discussion into the seriousness of putting mental health first. Price played a big role in the Canadiens journey to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Bindia Darshan manager of community wellness and education and programs at Humber says this was a teachable moment for students.

“I think representation matters – seeing a famous athlete prioritize their mental health might inspire other students to make that choice for themselves. Mental health has an impact on other areas of wellbeing (academic health, financial health, etc.), so it’s important that we take care of ourselves,” says Darshan.

For students, there is a similar view to the effects mental health has on ordinary people through times of stress and constant workload.

Thomas Andrisani, a third-year kinesiology student at the University of Guelph-Humber and Massimo Gentile, a first-year electromechanical engineering student at Humber College say Price’s actions struck a note with them about their challenges of dealing with mental health during the school year.

“I can relate to Carey in a way where [school] takes time away from family, as a student we have to train ourselves to get the best marks,” says Gentile.

“This semester I was in class online Monday to Friday and I’m starting to feel a burn-out from school,” says Andrisani.

Carey’s month-long break also gives meaning to the breaks that Guelph-Humber and Humber students get which includes a reading week, a two-week break between the first and second semester, and a four-month summer break.

“A reading week was like my version of a break from the stress that you work through for the semester, but I’m also scared of it because it tends to cool down my work ethic for assignments which I’m really worried about,” says Gentile.

“Sometimes I feel a need a break from school, especially because I’ve been online for both my second year and my third year,” says Andrisani.

“At some point, you start to feel fatigued and there are so many distractions around you that you have to find time for yourself and I think that’s where I can relate to Carey.”

Former Montreal Canadiens forward and teammate of Carey Price Dale Weise agrees students, as well as student athletes, face challenges.  He says it would be challenging for him to do what they do.

“It’s extremely difficult, I have so much respect for people that do it… they’re going to school and working on their classes, they have jobs outside of that, and then try to have a normal life…it’s hard to find that balance.

“To most Carey is an idol, especially men or male students going through mental health issues.”

“As a guy that’s been there and played with these guys, I’ve been there, when I grew up I idolized and looked up to NHL players…you had your favourite player,” says Weise.

“They’re superheroes, they’re gods.”

Massimo Gentile thinks Carey’s story has changed the perspective of mental health on male students.

“He is such a major impact on [men] specifically because he is an NHL athlete and hockey players are always expected to be tough and never open up,” says Gentile.

Hopefully, Carey’s story has inspired several students around Guelph-Humber and Humber to seek help if they need it.

“As a player, you never see it getting to him, that’s a big reason why he did what he did… as an athlete you put up this wall that ‘nothing can phase you’,” says Weise “As a person, you put up these walls and you don’t show people that you’re struggling and that you are weak,”

“We love hearing from students about their needs as this helps us plan for programs to ensure we’re providing the support they’re looking for,” says Darshan.

She recommends students, contact Humber Student Life.

Appointments are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday through Student Wellness and Accessibility by emailing counselling@humber.ca or calling 416-675-5090.