Kansas City Royals hire first on-field mental health professional

The Kansas City Royals, a Major League Baseball team, has hired Melissa Lambert as its first on-field mental health director, the MLB reported March 26. 

Ms. Lambert is also the first woman to join the team's on-field staff. In her role as director of behavioral sciences, she will provide mental health and performance support to players and coaches in an effort to prevent mental illness among the team during high-stress situations. 

"Some guys just need somebody to talk to, and a lot of guys want to keep those things, whether it’s personal or performance-wise, away from their position coach because that's a different relationship," Matt Quatraro, manager of the Royals, said in the MLB report. "Having someone that can be a good listener and have strategies for how to steer them is really important."

She joined the team in 2020 as the assistant director of behavioral science working mostly with Minor League affiliates. Several of the players she worked with in the Minor League have since joined the Royals. Prior to joining Kansas City, Ms. Lambert was the employee assistance program and mental skills coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Players and staff alike have been pleased with the new addition. 

"If you’re taking care of your mind, it’s going to trickle into how you process the game and how you come prepared to compete," Nick Pratto, first baseman for the Royals, said in the report. "Having those tools and skills are very useful. It amplifies what you do physically."

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