Lisa Aitken on the importance of mental health awareness and reaching out | #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek 

Mental Health Awareness Week (13th-19th May) opens up conversations about mental health. 

Lisa Aitken, professional player and SQUASHTV Commentator is also a PSA Foundation Health and Wellness Ambassador.  

At the PSA Foundation, we believe that there are no better people to help inform on the challenges of competing on Tour than the players themselves and the health and wellness programme is testament to that. 

The programme is formed of 13 players who be ambassadors from different tiers of the PSA Tour. 

Lisa speaks about the importance of mental health awareness, the challenges sportspeople and squash players face with mental health and her role as an ambassador  


“I think it’s so important to talk about [mental health], you know, it’s something that has been like a taboo subject. 

 You could say, within professional sport it’s always a bit of a funny one because you don’t really want to show any weakness at all. 

Obviously, as a player taking on this role as an ambassador for mental health is a bit easier for me because I’m a lot older and I’ve kind of gone through enough on tour, whether it be within the sport or through my personal life, or both combined to understand just how important it is to feel confident enough to find a space where you can be open and you can feel safe, and most importantly, be really vulnerable. 

There’s a lot of mental challenges as a player. It’s so vast, it can be anything from the pressure you put on yourself, pressure that you perhaps feel from others whether it’s friends, family, coaches, anyone in your team really. 

Ideally, you’d like to be in a place where you don’t have those pressures from other than yourself, but, you know, then you’ve got things like injuries, illness: any of those things can happen when you least expect it. 

I think it’s being equipped to not let those moments completely engulf you and, and lose sight of the bigger picture. 


I’ve struggled with a lot of things in the past and it takes away the enjoyment of the sport, the gratitude that you have for being able to play the game, to be able to travel the world ultimately that’s what it’s about. You play the sport because it’s absolutely incredible and it’s fun and it gives you such a buzz. 

When you get into this world of professional sport and having all those struggles come alongside it, it’s very easy to lose sight of that and forget why you’re here, why you play, and why you love it. 


I think taking on this role [as a Health and Wellness Ambassador] for me is important because I’ve been there, I’ve been young and and not wanted to show all of that.  

But it didn’t help. It didn’t help at all. It didn’t help me grow as a player, didn’t help me grow as a person. It was just a sad, lonely place for such a long time. 


So being able to take on this role and talk openly and freely about that, and even just share some of the stories and the struggles that I’ve had, I think, you know, it’s powerful and it can help a lot of people.”