GWS coach Leon Cameron says the AFL industry is heading in the right direction when it comes to mental health.
The days of being told to harden up at an AFL club are long gone, for both coaches and players.
Sydney veteran Heath Grundy this week became the latest player to take time away from the game to overcome mental health issues.
Grundy will continue to train with the Swans, but won't play on Saturday against Collingwood.
"What Heath's done is fantastic and the Swans have handled it really, really well," GWS coach Leon Cameron told reporters.
"Some 10, 15, 20 years ago - and I hate to think what happened 40 years ago - it was just if you weren't hard enough you were maligned.
"If training was too hard or you had some issues, you just had to harden up."
Cameron has seen the industry slowly but surely mature when it comes to mental health, having started his playing career in 1990.
Lance Franklin, Alex Fasolo, Tom Boyd and Travis Cloke are among the players to have taken time away from the game to focus on their mental health in recent years.
Former Hawthorn and North Melbourne forward Nathan Thompson was one of the first players to talk openly about his battle with depression.
Plenty of others have - and continue to - struggle with stress, anxiety and other issues in private.
"Depression in footy, it's hugely widespread," Fasolo wrote on the Players Voice website last year.
Cameron noted the AFL has driven a lot of change, with welfare officers and psychologists now the norm at every club to help deal with the "ups and downs you confront".
"It's not only players, it's staff and coaches as well," he said.
"Coaches will go and talk to people when they're having a tough time as well.
"It's a great sign of the times. We're heading in the right direction.
"It's such a fantastic game ... but behind the scenes it's really hard.
"Physically it's hard for players to get up every week then mentally, the scrutiny they're put under by supporters and media is full on."
Swans coach John Longmire is unsure when Grundy will be available again.
"He just needs to get himself right. It's been great Heath has been up front and honest with us all the way along," Longmire said.
"I just keep on encouraging people anywhere, in professional sport and outside, to be open and keep talking about mental health."
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