Squash is more than a sport, it’s a community. It’s about family, and fun. The sport uniquely spans generations, genders, and cultures, and gains strength from its inclusivity. It’s also about competition, fitness, and a healthy, balanced life.
US Squash’s vision is to be the best national sports governing body in the United States. In pursuing this aspiration, we envision people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds across the country enjoying squash, playing the game with a positive spirit, and participating in programs that foster camaraderie, facilitate competition and encourage healthy lifestyles.
MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS
Pre-pandemic, our country already faced a health and well-being crisis, increasing obesity, decreasing physical activity and declining rather than increasing average life expectancy for the first time in decades.
The covid-19 pandemic has piled on to these underlying issues and wreaked havoc on physical and mental well-being in this country. A recent survey on behalf of the American Psychological Association found that increased stress levels are signaling a growing national mental health crisis. Mental Health America reported data showing signs of anxiety and depression at an all-time high.
The mind-body connection means that being less active impacts us mentally, spiritually and emotionally. More media attention is being given to what has been known for some time – that the psychological toll of this crisis is unmeasured yet no less present or catastrophic.
According to a recent story in the Washington Post, “a survey of high school athletes conducted by the University of Wisconsin this summer found that approximately 68 percent of the 3,243 teens polled have reported feelings of anxiety and depression at levels that typically require medical intervention — nearly 40 percent higher than past studies. The study, which also found that physical activity levels were 50 percent lower for kids than before the pandemic, was labeled ‘striking and concerning’ by one researcher”.
As a community, connected by a passion for sport and the fellowship it engenders, we must support one another. Adolescents and young adults are at particular risk, and we need to come together as a community to raise our awareness of the challenges we face, and the steps we can all take to meet them head on.
Behind the scenes, the College Squash Association (CSA) is taking a leadership role, highlighting the important and central role coaches also play in supporting the community’s mental health. There is a vast network of resources of those who are able to help, and those who are in need.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA), SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357) is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources 1-800-273-8255
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee offers Athlete Services and a host of resources and informational links.
The NCAA Sport Science Institute offers excellent educational resources.
Employers and affiliated institutions and all health insurers also provide critical resources for awareness, information and support.
As US Squash begins to marshal resources to play our role in facing this crisis in an appropriate, and we hope helpful way, we ask you to join in this effort by educating yourself and supporting one another as a community.
If you are aware of someone you know whom you’re concerned about, please use any of the resources linked to here. If you feel you can be helpful to this ongoing and sustained effort by US Squash in any way, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.