Today, October 10th, the world of squash is celebrating World Mental Health Day: an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.
As part of this campaign, some of the world’s top squash players have been speaking to the PSA Foundation to share their thoughts on the topics of “How do you look after your mental health?” and “How can players support friends, family, and each other?”
India’s Men’s World No.17 Saurav Ghosal, who alongside Sarah-Jane Perry is Chair of the Athletes Commission: “I do some forms of like informal meditation. But I think the most important thing to accept, understand and realise is that the people closest to you make the most difference.
“We can do small things which probably make a big difference. We have our friends, we have our family, I think it’s important to spend time with them.
“It’s important to pick up the phone every now and then and give them a call and see how they’re doing. And I think just being a sounding board, and a part of a support system, for the people closest to you, is the best way for us to help the people who we know and hopefully make a small difference in their lives.”
Belgium’s Women’s World No.12 Nele Gilis: “It’s just simple things that I do, like go for a walk, connect with a loved one, cook myself a homemade meal, get my nails done, literally anything that relaxes me and makes me happy. They’re little things, but they’re the most important things to me.
“I think being vulnerable with your friends, your family, so they feel like they can be vulnerable with you, too.
“Literally anything you’re going through, I can guarantee you that other people are going through the same thing. So just putting yourself out there to talk about stuff, I think that’s really important.”
Wales’s Women’s World No.17 Tesni Evans: “A lot of people, including myself, we bottle it up until it gets to a point and I think it’s important just to talk to people find help find professional help if you need to.
“I do [practise] mindfulness. I try to do it every day, if I can. I find that really helps to just to have 10-15 minutes to myself every day to just relax and take all the stress away.”
France’s Men’s World No.10 Victor Crouin: “I do a lot of [writing] and journaling. Not every day, it’s more informal, when I feel like there’s a lot going on in my head and I need to put it into words.
“Sometimes there’s a lot of thoughts coming into our minds, but we don’t know what to make of them. [Journaling] is just to structure our thinking our thoughts and turn them also into a more positive thought process.
“Check in with [people], be nice with them try to sit down and just listen to them. I think when people feel listened to, then they’ll feel more comfortable sharing their mental health issues.”
Find out more about the work of the PSA Foundation.
Find out more about the World Federation for Mental Health.