The ProtoStar Foundation announced on Wednesday that the Matt Stevenson junior tennis tournament series – intended to promote the importance of adolescent mental health – will begin with a tournament in San Diego starting on Saturday.
Opened in 2019 in San Diego, the tournament spans New York and Washington, DC. “, According to a press release from the foundation.
The San Diego event will take place in singles and doubles from Saturday through Monday at Mountain View Sports & Racquet Club, 6401 Skyline Drive. Tournaments are sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association.
As part of the series, the ProtoStar Foundation is collaborating with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to present The Power of Mental Health, an awareness campaign providing a forum to talk about depression, anxiety and the prevention of suicide. The tournament tables will provide junior players with information on what to look for and where to get help. Parents and coaches can also register for online or in-person workshops conducted by AFSP.
“Depression, anxiety and suicide are difficult topics to discuss both in sport and in everyday life, but they must be addressed,” said Gary Poon, President and Founder of the ProtoStar Foundation. “This is a very critical time for mental health, and we hope the MSJTT series and The Power of Mental Health campaign will help make this topic part of the conversation – whether it’s on the tennis court, in the locker room or around the kitchen table, ”said Poon.
According to JAMA Pediatrics, one in six young Americans between the ages of 6 and 17 suffers from a mental health disorder each year. The suicide rate among children and adolescents aged 10 to 19, according to federal officials, increased 56% from 2007 to 2016, and is the second leading cause of death among young people.
“Society today is focused on teaching children to work hard and pursue their passions in a persistent manner, and this is even more emphasized in sports,” said Lisa Horowitz, scientist and clinical psychologist at the ‘National Institute of Mental Health. “Helping young people start these important conversations with trusted adults is an essential suicide prevention strategy.
“We need to help young people understand that being mentally healthy in life is different from mental strength in competition,” said Horowitz. “Seizing opportunities to talk to children when they are engaged in what they love to do, like playing tennis, can help them understand that they are not alone and that help is available. “
The inspiration behind the MSJTT series came from the late Matt Stevenson, a tennis professional who has led junior tennis programs in the Washington, DC area. Before committing suicide in 2017 at the age of 32, he wrote extensively about his own mental health issues and called for children to be made aware of the importance of staying mentally healthy and seeking help. if they needed it.
“If we can make a positive difference in the life of just one child, tournaments will be worth all the time, effort and resources we put into them,” said Poon.
All tournament fees and donations will go to the Matt Stevenson Junior Tennis Fund, which supports junior tennis programs in low to moderate income areas. A portion of the net proceeds may also be donated to the tournament site’s junior tennis programs.
The New York event will be held September 17-19, and the Washington, DC event will take place October 2-3.
–City news service