Barnsley Football Club 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, every football team from across the Premier League, English Football League, The National League, The Barclays FA Women’s Super League, The FA Women’s Championship and The 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, with activity planned at fixtures across the men’s and women’s football calendar.
On Saturday 8 February 2020, ahead of our South Yorkshire Derby with Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley will join clubs across the nation to display the Heads Up emblem across stadiums, programmes and player kit, in a major unifying moment that aims to get the nation talking about mental health.
With over 15 million football fans in England, Heads Up aims to use the power of football as a way to show the nation that we all have mental health and it is just as important as physical 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.
The simple power of conversation - talking and listening – can be the first step to better mental health, and to making it OK to say we’re not OK.
Dane Murphy, Barnsley Football Club Chief Executive Officer said: “One of the more promising recent trends to take hold in the world of sport is the recognition of mental health awareness. As athletes become more comfortable sharing their own internal strife as a means of coping, the more it encourages the vast surrounding communities to follow their guidance. What has seemed like a generational social faux paux now could see its barriers crumble with this most important stride of influence. The football community has to do its very best to make sure we continue grow and encourage the conversation of mental health.”
Michael Sollbauer, who was unveiled by the club upon signing from Wolfsberger AC last month by sporting his t-shirt backwards in support of Mind, added: “We are proud to be able to support this campaign. Mental health is an important issue for everyone and we need to continue to raise awareness for people to talk to one another if they are in a not so good place.”
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