In a bid to raise more awareness about Mental Health, Seychellois swimmer Felicity Passon set herself a challenge; swimming 15 km from La Digue Island to Praslin and back to raise funds to finance a mental health project. Today, 24th October, Felicity completed the challenge in 4hrs and 6 minutes.
Felicity – two times African Champion (100m and 200m backstroke), seven times Indian Ocean Island Games Champion in 2019 and a 200m backstroke qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics wanted to play her role to support people with their mental health, just like the community has supported her throughout her swimming career- ” Mental health is something that I hold dear to me, it is something that I have struggled with as well, so I know how difficult it can be to go through it and how difficult it is to try and get yourself out.”
Felicity is a third-year Psychology student at the University of Arizona in the US but is currently in Seychelles studying remotely due to the pandemic. She made it clear before the challenge that her priority has not changed.
“I haven’t altered my training very much to prepare for this challenge, as preparing for the Olympic games is still my main priority. However, I am doing a few sessions in the sea just to get used to it, as well as to prepare myself for any eventualities on the day of the challenge. Mentally I know it’s going to be tough so I want to push myself both physically and mentally to achieve this. At the same time, the fact that I am doing this for a good cause gives me the motivation that I need to finish the challenge.” She did complete the challenge with the whole nation watching her live on television.
The challenge — ‘Mind Over Matter’ was organised in partnership with the Ministry of Family, Youth, and Sports, to raise funds for a mental health project —extending psychosocial support to the public via telephone and e-counselling service.
Felicity’s drive and passion for this challenge were due to the damaging result of the covid-19 pandemic, “Mental health is something that many of us battle with, and with the pandemic, many have suffered even more through sickness, loss of a dear one, job insecurity, confinement, financial constraints, stress among others. With all these pressures, this project has the potential to have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. This challenge is bigger than me.”
After the challenge Felicity had this to say “Words can’t express how much I am forever grateful for all the support and encouragement. I would have never been able to achieve my dream without each and every one of you! Special kudos to my family, my team of volunteers, all essential services, authorities, media, the public on La Digue and globally, my sponsors and all of you who contributed towards the cause. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.”.”