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Charity Shield kicks-off season of activities highlighting importance of talking about mental health

31 July 2019

Charity Shield kicks-off season of activities highlighting importance of talking about mental health

Sunday’s FA Community Shield between Liverpool and Manchester City will kick-off the Heads Up campaign and a season of activities aimed at driving the biggest ever conversation on mental health. 

Heads Up – launched by The FA and Heads Together and spearheaded by The Duke of Cambridge - will harness the influence and popularity of football to help show the nation that we all have mental health and it is just as important as physical health.

The Heads Up campaign will strive to raise awareness, spark conversation and signpost support for those in need, with a 24/7 text support service established.

Following The FA Community Shield, the campaign will be activated across all levels of the game from the elite to grassroots and at the biggest moments of The FA’s season including men’s and women’s England internationals and FA competitions. The campaign will conclude at the Emirates FA Cup Final on 23 May, 2020. 

At a grassroots level, a new comprehensive guidance for coaches and managers will be distributed to FA affiliated adult clubs, to support them in identifying the signs of mental health and offer support and signposting where needed to help improve the mental wellbeing of players.

Heads Up will also become The FA’s nominated charity and will see The FA work alongside designated charity partners Mind, CALM, Sporting Chance and Heads Together to raise vital funds for mental health initiatives and support.  

Those in need of support will be guided to a number of support services available through The FA's charity partners and other mental health organisations.

If a fan wants immediate support they can also text ‘HeadsUp’ to 85258 to connect with a trained crisis volunteer, who will chat to them by text message, sharing only what feels comfortable, and help them through the moment, working together on a plan for longer-term support.

This service is available 24/7 and free to text from most mobile networks. It is run by ‘Shout’ and powered by Crisis Text Line.

The Premier League, EFL, LMA and PFA also support the objectives of the campaign and Heads Up will look to work with each of the organisations to highlight some of the great work they are already doing on mental health throughout the season. 

Mark Bullingham, The FA’s Chief Executive said: “We will work with Heads Up to use the power of football to tackle the stigma around mental health and raise awareness of the importance of mental fitness.”

Lorraine Heggessey, CEO of The Royal Foundation comented: “Heads Together has been part of an incredible movement to make more people aware of mental health, but stigma still stops too many people from talking openly and reaching out for help when they need it.

"If we can get the nation talking about our mental health as openly and as often as we passionately discuss football, then we can defeat stigma and lives will be changed - some will be saved."

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said: “This is a fantastic chance for the football family to come together and tackle mental health for good. This applies from the national team right through to the grassroots.”

Simon Gunning, CEO of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) said: “We firmly believe football can bring great happiness and be a force for good when it comes to mental health. We’re therefore delighted to continue our work with Heads Together and to be part of the Heads Up campaign."  

For more information on Heads Up visit – TheFA.com/HeadsUp and headstogether.org.uk.

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