Becoming a full-time squash player is everything Georgia Adderley ever wanted but she is also aware that it will not be without its pitfalls. The 22- year-old last week sat the final exam of her sports science degree, a qualification that she is grateful to have but one she hopes not to need to use for a while.

Adderley will now devote all her energies to climbing the rankings after recently competing at her third world championships but knows that the pursuit of excellence can often come at a price, especially in an individual sport where travelling around the world to compete can often be a solitary existence.

Acknowledging her own previous struggles with mental health issues, the Edinburgh-based athlete is happy to lend her support to the Squash the Stigma campaign being run this month by Scottish Squash, in which players are being encouraged to speak out about their own experiences in the hope of helping others.

Adderley describes herself as a loquacious type – it is hard to argue – so has found speaking about her problems, to her mum, boyfriend or training team-mates, to have been a big help during the darker days.

She is grateful also to be playing professionally in an era far removed from the “just get on with it” attitude of the past and believes nurturing and protecting your mental health is as vital as any on-court achievements.

“Studying for my degree has actually been great as it’s given me something else to do outside of squash,” she says. “That’s something I need to be aware of as I move forward. I really enjoy playing squash but it can also be draining and tiring at times.

“I’m now full time but I still need to create time for myself to recover, rest and enjoy myself, walking my dogs and going to the cinema, things like that.

“I want to play my best squash possible but I don’t want to start becoming obsessive about it as that wouldn’t be healthy. You need to give yourself time away from sport, spend time with your friends and family and give yourself space to just be. If all you think about is your job then you’re not going to enjoy life in the way that you should.

“I’m a big talker and speak a lot to my mum and my boyfriend. I’ve spoken to counsellors in the past too which was great as it gave me a chance to learn more about myself. I’m a verbal processor so when things happen I like to talk it through with someone.

“I also have a really good relationship with my coach and can be really honest with him about how I’m feeling about things. I think on the whole people should always speak out rather than keeping any issues inside themselves. And the most important thing is to always surround yourself with people who support you and love you.”

Injuries can often be a trigger for athletes to suffer a dip in their mental wellbeing, something Adderley is also familiar with. A recent three-month lay-off from squash was tough to deal with but Adderley filled the void by picking up new hobbies and generally trying to keep her mind active while she underwent her rehab.

“Being injured is always a tough time,” she adds. “I had an injury when I was 16 and really, really struggled with that. I had a bit of an identity crisis around that time and didn’t know who I was without sport.

“My most recent injury was only three months but it was my first surgery and was a bit scary and unsettling at times. But the key thing for me was setting myself goals and keeping myself busy during the day. I tried to get going with my uni work and started to learn the guitar. It all helps keep you positive and gives you more of a purpose. Mentally I felt good during the rehab as I felt I was using my time wisely.”

Recognising possible triggers ahead of a dip in mental health is something that has come along for Adderley through time and experience.

“In the past I didn’t know what those triggers were and I found myself having feelings that I didn’t understand. I went to counselling and worked through a lot of that. I was 17 at the time and feeling pretty low. I didn’t want to go initially as I was a bit scared but it was so beneficial as it allowed me to become more self-aware and to identify what I need when I find things difficult.

“Now I like to write things down, I use meditation as well and that’s really helped me feel a lot more at peace with myself. I would recommend that to anyone and everyone. I’m really thankful for having gone through that journey.”