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Community unites to kick off biggest conversation on mental health

6 February 2020

Mansfield Town Football in the Community is uniting with football clubs across the country to kick off the biggest ever conversation on mental health.

Over the past two seasons, the EFL has joined forces with Mind, the mental health charity, to help improve football’s approach to mental health and raise awareness around the country.

Now, for two weekends in February, clubs across the Premier League, English Football League, National League, Barclays FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship and FA Women’s National League will dedicate their matches to Heads Up, a partnership between The FA and Heads Together.

Spearheaded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Heads Up aims to harness the influence and popularity of football to normalise the conversation around mental health.

The Heads Up weekends will highlight the power of talking as a way to support one another and dispel the stigma around mental health, with activities planned at fixtures across the men’s and women’s football calendar.

As part of the Heads Up campaign, Mansfield Town Football in the Community will begin their activities on Friday 07 February, continuing to provide support for those who need it through the ‘Active Minds’ programme. ‘Active Minds’ highlights that it’s okay to not be okay, and provides people with a safe and secure environment to talk, and tackle mental health head on.

‘Active Minds’ has proved to be a popular platform for those tackling mental health, with the regular ‘Sport’ section now attended on a regular basis by upwards of ten males, all of whom have found new confidence and made a support network, whilst the ‘Chat’ group continues to provide support to those living with dementia and facing social isolation.

With over 15 million football fans in England, Heads Up aims to use the power of football as a way to show the nation the importance of positive mental health. Over the Heads Up weekends, the aim is to reach every single football fan to raise awareness that we will all face ups and downs in life which will affect our mental health, but we can all do more to support each other - and that starts with talking.

The weekend will further highlight the important work taking place across football to improve the approach to mental health in football. This includes the EFL and Mind’s ground-breaking charity partnership, which began in 2018 and has provided increased visibility, important training and support for clubs, staff and fans, and raised vital funds for the mental health charity.

Mansfield Town Football in the Community’s disability inclusion officer Macauley Short said: “Active Minds in particular has really developed beyond expectation and goes a very long way to giving people the support they need.

“Playing matches and participating in skill-based activities helps to take participants away from the challenges which they face in life. It gives them a focus and something to work towards and really encourages them to speak out about any issues and enjoy a better quality of life as a result.”

EFL chairman Rick Parry, said: “Through our ground-breaking partnership with Mind, the EFL and its clubs have worked hard to improve the approach to mental health in football and wider society, over the past two seasons.

“Football provides a platform like no other to raise awareness and tackle society’s biggest issues and we’re proud to offer our support to the Heads Up campaign, as football comes together to further encourage the conversation around mental health. I look forward to seeing the impact over the two weekends.”

Whether you or someone you know is struggling, or if you want to help dispel the stigma, kick off a conversation about mental health this weekend.

Join the conversation using #KickOffAConversation and #HeadsUp.  

Find out more and get tips from Heads Up’s charity partners (Mind, CALM, Sporting Chance and Heads Together) – visit www.headstogether.org.uk/heads-up.

Those wanting immediate support can also text ‘HeadsUp’ to 85258 to connect with a trained crisis volunteer – a service run by ‘Shout’ and powered by Crisis Text Line, which is available 24/7 and free to text from most mobile networks.

For further advice and support please visit www.mind.org.uk. To learn more about the EFL’s partnership with Mind, please visit: mind.org.uk/onyourside.

Active Minds runs at One Call Stadium, every Friday, 10am to 12noon, and is FREE of charge – click HERE for more information.


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