Essex Clubs Show Backing for Mental Health in Football

A NEW ‘Mental Health Awareness in Football’ Poster which aims to support grassroots football clubs in raising awareness of, and breaking the stigma around, mental health is being displayed in clubhouses and on social media accounts.

The editable poster, which is available to download at www.essexfa.com, features contact details for many supportive organisations, including the Samaritans and Mind. The custom PDF file allows clubs to add their name and pledge to join the Essex County FA in highlighting that sport can play a huge role in tackling stigma and its effects by:

breaking down boundaries between people with and without mental health problems
creating social integrations and boosting self-confidence
tackling physical health inequalities

Cindi Chatha, Essex County FA Development Officer, explained: “We’ve noticed a number of clubs displaying the poster in their clubhouses and on social media, which is really encouraging to see. It’s great to witness grassroots football coming together.”

“Now we’d like many more to help raise awareness of the support available to anyone who might need it. Football has some very strong communities who can break a taboo and make it easier to talk to friends and team mates about mental wellbeing.”

The poster further builds on recent FA guidance to coaches and managers working across the adult football pyramid, advising them on how to support the mental wellbeing of their players. A new guide has been produced in partnership with Mind and a mental health advisory group.

The 36-page publication forms an important part of The FA and Heads Together’s ‘Heads Up’ campaign, which seeks to harness the influence and popularity of football to drive the biggest ever conversation on mental health.

In addition to information and advice on mental health and wellbeing, the guidance notes have been created to help coaches and managers spot the signs of mental health problems, predominantly amongst male players. It gives them the confidence to support, as well as signposts to specialist help where necessary, including Heads Up’s charity partners and a 24/7 text support service.

Please visit www.essexfa.com/players/support to download the ‘Mental Health Awareness in Football Poster’ and add your club’s name. Then place it up on notice boards, share it on Twitter (tagging @EssexCountyFA) and post it on other social media. For more details on Heads Up, and to download the new FA guide, visit www.thefa.com/HeadsUp and www.headstogether.org.uk.

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