Minnesota United defender Chase Gasper on Tuesday called himself "better and stronger than ever" after he entered himself into MLS' treatment program.

Back in Blaine training with his teammates, Gasper termed his time at the famed Cliffside Malibu addiction treatment center in California a "good mental, emotional, physical reset."

“I made the mistake and thought suffering in silence was the tough or the strong thing to do. But it's not. ”
Chase Gaspar

The 2019 first-round pick, who has been a Loons starter since his rookie season, spoke publicly for the first time about his month spent in the league's recovery program.

"I'm just happy to be back at the club I love, the family that I love and back on the field with my teammates," he said.

Gasper thanked the club, his coaches, teammates, staff and "especially the fans." He also thanked the specialists at the treatment center who he said will always have a "special place in my heart."

"I felt all their love and support," he said. "It helped me during a really important time in my life, a tough time. It just means the world to be back here with the family I love."

Gasper, 26, urged anyone suffering anxiety, depression, addiction and other mental-health issues to seek and accept help.

"I made the mistake and thought suffering in silence was the tough or the strong thing to do," he told reporters. "But it's not. Reaching out, asking for help, that's the courageous and strong thing to do. So I implore everybody out there if you're suffering in silence — reach out to a loved one or a friend because they want to help you."

Gasper said such issues have affected him all his life, but particularly "the last eight years have been really tough."

"I thought putting a smile on my face and telling everybody I was all right was the right thing to do," he said. "It really takes the whole tribe. It takes special help — doctors, therapists, counselors, your support network.

"People, they want to help you. Just talk to them, let it out, tell your story and you will definitely feel so much better, like I do now."

Loons coach Adrian Heath called Gasper fit upon his return and "probably" ready to play some minutes in Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup game at Forward Madison (Wis.).

Heath called Gasper's weight "perfect" after a month away. Gasper followed a workout program provided by Minnesota United trainers and did so at the treatment facility Gasper said had a gym, treadmill and a soccer ball so he could juggle and do drills.

"He'll certainly be with the group," Heath said. "You can tell he's in a really good spot. He looked after himself while he was away. He's a popular member of the group, so we're delighted to have him back, for sure."

Gasper returned to the team Friday and watched Saturday's 3-1 victory over Colorado from an Allianz Field seat.

He and Loons goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair won a NCAA national championship together at Maryland and are now playing together for a fourth consecutive MLS season.

"I'm really proud of him, I know it wasn't easy," St. Clair said. "Me and Chase Gasper go back before Minnesota, so just seeing him around and knowing he's better, I'm really happy for him. I think the whole team got a boost when he came back, too, because no one knew how long or to what extent it was going to be for."

Gasper called his decision to seek help now the right move that had been a long time coming.

"There's never really a good time for it," he said. "It just reached kind of a tipping point. It was definitely a difficult time, but I know it was the right move to help myself and ultimately help the team because I wasn't myself recently."