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Mental Health Awareness Week

UK football family reaffirms commitment to mental health

9 May 2022
Heads Up, Mentally Healthy

Football bodies are encouraging the nation to keep up the conversation on mental health

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and we will be highlighting examples of work the Premier League, our clubs and partners carry out to support and encourage players - from Academy through to first team - managers, officials, fans and local communities to look after their mental health.

Two years ago, as part of the Heads Up Campaign led by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, the UK football family collectively backed the Mentally Healthy Football Declaration.

The declaration involved governing bodies, leagues and organisations from across British football recognising that mental health is as important as physical health.

Football family uniting

And the football family has joined together this Mental Health Awareness Week to reaffirm their support for mental wellbeing and to encourage the nation to keep up the conversation on mental health.

"The football community has collectively made significant strides forward since signing the declaration - whether that is the 10,000 people newly trained in mental health practices, or the needs of hundreds of players now better supported by wellbeing assessments," said HRH The Duke of Cambridge.

"Lasting change takes time to realise, and I'm encouraged that football has come together again to reaffirm its continuing commitment to instilling a mentally healthy culture at all levels, across all four nations.

"Only by doing this can we ensure a safe, supportive environment for everyone who engages with the game, whether that be in the changing room, the terraces, or from home."

"The football community has collectively made significant strides forward since signing the declaration"

HRH The Duke of Cambridge

A Mentally Healthy Football Declaration Report has also been published to share examples of positive mental health work and progress made to support those involved in the game.

For example, Southampton, with support from the Premier League and guidance from the charity Sporting Chance, have developed a mental, physical and emotional wellbeing strategy that sits at the very heart of the club.

The strategy, which was introduced at the start of 2021, reinforces Southampton's commitment to supporting positive mental and emotional health from top to bottom - involving all staff, players, community participants and fans.

See: How safeguarding is at the heart of Southampton

The theme of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness, which has come into sharp focus during the Coronavirus pandemic.

During lockdown and beyond, Premier League clubs, staff and their charitable foundations played an important role in keeping people at risk of isolation in their local communities connected.

This engagement came in a wide variety of ways, such as phone calls to vulnerable people, prescription collections and deliveries as well as food drop-offs.

See: How clubs helped tackle social isolation during pandemic

Clubs such as Watford joined in with the Premier League's #GetInTouch campaign, which involved children being encouraged to maintain their writing skills by penning letters to an older relative, friend or neighbour, using PL Primary Stars home-learning resources.

See: Watford connect generations as pupils write to elderly

We also launched our #StayWell hub, which has a growing library of expert advice and top tips to support positive mental and physical health.

Download: Mentally Healthy Football Declaration Report (PDF, 3.7MB)

Also in this series

Part 2: McAtee: Team-mates can help your mental health
Part 3: Lennon: I didn't realise there was so much help around
Part 4: Mertesacker: Wellbeing support is crucially important
Part 5: Mertesacker: We need to be able to express our feelings
Part 6: Premier League managers unite to tackle suicide
Part 7: Ruddy: Mental health project helps people let off steam
Part 8: Kemp: Opening up helped my mental health
Part 9: 'Saints Foundation has been a lifeline for me'

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