World No.120 Mary Fung-A-Fat and World No.36 Lucas Serme have been named Sporting Chance Ambassadors as squash leads the charge to help increase awareness of mental health through the charity’s services and engagement with fellow athletes and organisations.
If you’re unfamiliar with PSA Foundation partners, Sporting Chance, they are the largest provider of mental health services working exclusively with professional and elite sports participants in the UK, working with fourteen stakeholders across ten sports. Founded by former Arsenal and England football captain Tony Adams, MBE in the year 2000.
Sporting Chance are recruiting ambassadors from each of the sports they work with, who can help spearhead their efforts within each respective sporting landscape. For squash, this will be Fung-A-Fat from Guyana & Serme of France. Their role will include:
- Advising and informing Sporting Chance about relevant issues in order to help shape the charity’s services and engagement with the people it serves. This may also include being part of an athlete engagement advisory group.
- Raising awareness of the charity and its services. This could include (but is not limited to) social media posts, media interviews and personal appearances.
- Assisting Sporting Chance’s education department in delivering workshops and seminars to athletes and sporting organisations.
Both Lucas and Mary will soon be undergoing training with Sporting Chance to help prepare them for their role.
We caught up with Lucas and Mary about their new role:
What made you want to be a Sporting Chance Ambassador?
“I’ve been on both sides of the glass – as a player and coach – and from that, I learnt a lot about the dynamics behind the scenes that tend to bleed on court. This contributed to my decision of pursuing a Masters of Counseling Psychology for Mental Health. When the Sporting Chance Ambassador position arose, it felt like the perfect opportunity to marry my two passions; and I feel lucky to be part of this movement.“
“The role description and Sporting Chance really spoke to me. I was always open to finding a different role within the squash world, beside being “just” a pro player, and this feeling intensified with the recent situation in the world. The chance to help my fellow players regarding such an important issue that is mental health was one I did not want to miss.“
What are your thoughts on the current landscape for mental health in squash on the Pro Tour?
“As a fairly unrecognised individual sport, players on the Pro Tour have known isolation long before covid existed! I think there’s a lot of scope for mental health support in our community and it’s time to normalise it.“
“I am convinced that many people on the Pro Tour do not know about mental health or do not have the courage to talk about it. Professional sport is such a competitive world, it can become difficult to open up about such a personal topic. It is going to be very interesting and helpful for everybody on the Tour to be able to benefit from Sporting Chance.“
What are you looking forward to most in your role as an ambassador?
“I’ve seen the need for this support so I most look forward to seeing players have access to mental health counseling to be able to reach their full potential, and ultimately grow the sport.“
“I am really hoping that Mary and I will be able to make ourselves helpful in bringing the players and Sporting Chance closer, showing everything that this charity has to offer and how everyone will benefit from taking care of their mental health.“