Shayne Corson’s advice for addressing mental health
Professional hockey player Shayne Corson

It doesn’t matter who you are – mental health issues don’t discriminate and can happen to anyone. Whether it’s depression, anxiety disorders, addictive behaviours or even a combination of issues, it can be hard to identify exactly what’s wrong when the illness is “invisible.” It can be even more difficult to reach out and find help, especially when things seem to look perfectly fine on the surface – and that can unfortunately be where a lot of people get stuck.

Shayne Corson is a notable example. Even with a long, storied career as a professional hockey player, he still deals with crippling anxiety and panic attacks. But instead of hiding it, Shayne’s determined to turn his struggles into a positive thing by offering help and advice to anyone dealing with mental health problems. And with January being a prominent month to discuss mental health awareness, there’s no better time to start the conversation – and to understand early signs that should be addressed.

We had the chance to ask Shayne about how he deals with his anxiety, how and when he eventually sought help, and how to bring up mental health with kids so they can learn how to ask for help themselves – and to not feel ashamed of doing so.

When did you first start noticing feelings of anxiety?

Shayne:

At a very young age. I was always a nervous kid.

How long was it before you sought help, either from family and friends or professionally?

Shayne:

I didn’t seek help until the end of my career at age of 37.

What was your biggest challenge in moving forward with managing your anxiety?

Shayne:

Realizing I need help – and getting the right help.  A certain amount of in stress life is normal, but I had to take a good look at my life and finally determine the situations that caused me a lot of anxiety. I had no choice, I had to make some big changes to go forward.

How do you think we should address mental health with our children?

Shayne:

Keep the conversations about mental health going. Check in with them, keep listening to them.  Give them space to talk about their feelings. Let them know we don’t know exactly why people struggle with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety - but we know for sure there are ways to feel better.

What are some recommendations you would have for helping kids cope with fear and anxiety?

Shayne:

Give them love and support. Just let them know you are there if they need to talk about anything, or if they prefer, you can set something up for them to talk to someone else.



What advice would you give kids who are afraid to speak up about the struggles they are going through?

Shayne:

I would tell them even though they may feel scared or anxious, they are not alone. There is hope and there are people out there for support. It’s not a weakness, it’s an illness.



Shayne Corson is a paid Sonnet spokesperson.
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