Since going public about his battle with mental health last year, Robin Lehner admits that it has been overwhelming dealing with all messages he’s received, but rewarding at the same time.
The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy winner joined Prime Time Sports on Thursday evening to discuss his fight towards ending the stigma around mental health.
When asked about whether the subject of mental health was discussed enough when he was growing up, Lehner admitted it was not a priority and in some ways still isn’t.
“It’s not being discussed in a way it needs to be done,” Lehner said. “I love everyone that’s kind of come out with their problems and be transparent about it because you can really help people in real-time and in present-day life.”
Lehner believes that what made his time with the New York Islanders successful was that he was honest about the issues he was dealing with and didn’t ask or receive any special treatment because of it.
“I tried to come into this year trying to show I have all these issues. And a lot of people have all these issues, and I don’t need special care,” said the 28-year-old. “I didn’t get any special care in Long Island… what I got in Long Island was good people around me, that didn’t judge me.
“And I didn’t ask for a day off or, you know, special treatment, but I got one special treatment from Long Island which was if we have a golf tournament, or if there was a dinner, which came early in my sobriety, and I felt like it was tough to be around booze and stuff like that, I could just leave.”
With mental health issues becoming a larger conversation with athletes like Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan opening up about their struggles, Lehner believes it’s also up to the people in management roles to lead the charge.
“It starts at the top… this starts with the owner, starts with the GM, it starts with coaches, because if they have a stigma, if they think that a mental disability is going to stop you, or make you less of a player, they just aren’t educated,” he said. “That’s where the problem comes from where people are not open and honest, because they’re scared of those people.”
You can listen to the full audio of the interview with Lehner below.