STAR St Kilda midfielder Jack Steven will take an indefinite break from the club as he deals with mental health issues.
Saints football manager Simon Lethlean paid tribute to Steven's decision.
"Jack's decision to put his hand up and acknowledge that he needs some time away is a brave one," Lethlean said.
"He is a much-loved member of our playing group and has the support of all his teammates, his coaches and all St Kilda supporters."
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It puts the 28-year-old's availability for the start of the season into jeopardy.
Lethlean wouldn't predict when Steven would return.
"Jack will use this time to take a break from the daily routine of training and concentrate on his health," Lethlean said.
"I know he is desperate to get back to training and preparing for the season as quickly as possible, but the most important thing is making sure he is in the right headspace to do so.
"We ask that Jack be given the time and privacy to deal with this matter."
Steven is coming off the fourth best and fairest award of his career.
The Saints are likely to be without Jake Carlisle (back) and Dan Hannebery (hamstring) for round one against Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, March 24.
If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours/seven days) or chat to a crisis supporter online at lifeline.org.au (7pm-midnight).