Walsall Football Club has welcomed a joint Declaration from the UK football family signifying its support for building a mentally healthy environment at every level of the game, as a lasting legacy of the Heads Up campaign.
Walsall FC has long championed mental health awareness, supporting the EFL’s charity partnership with Mind and the season-long Heads Up campaign.
The Mentally Healthy Football Declaration will see all of UK football recognising that mental health is as important as physical health, and pioneering a ‘team approach’ on this important issue. The UK football family will build on the important work that clubs and football organisations are already doing, including the EFL’s charity partnership with Mind, working together to roll out these efforts across the football system, share best practice, and support the development of ‘mentally healthy clubs’ at every level of the game.
Over the past two seasons, the EFL and Mind’s partnership has provided increased visibility and awareness to over 18 million fans of EFL football, important training and support for Clubs, staff and fans and raised vital funds for the mental health charity.
The landmark Declaration has been signed by senior figures from across the football system, including the English Football League (EFL), the FA, the Premier League, Scottish FA, Wales FA, Irish FA, League Managers Association (LMA), Professional Footballers Association (PFA), Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and League Football Education (LFE).
Following an unprecedented season for football, mental health issues are more relevant than ever. Through the Declaration, football has committed to working together to embed an environment across all of UK football:
- Where players and staff are encouraged to look after their mental health just as they look after their physical health;
- where they feel able to spot the signs that they, a team-mate or colleague might be struggling and know where to access support;
- and where speaking out about mental health is seen as a sign of strength rather than weakness.
The Declaration will see us form a UK-wide mental health implementation group next season, working towards a collective ‘game plan’ for the first time to ensure the mental health of players, staff, managers, coaches and officials is prioritised across the game.
Rick Parry, Chairman of EFL, said: “The EFL is proud to join together with our football colleagues to support this new declaration and, importantly, ensure the conversation around mental health continues to be heard across our game at all levels. Over the last two seasons the League’s charity partnership with Mind, has shown us first-hand the impact football can have in raising awareness of such an important issue in society. As a result of the impact COVID-19 has had on communities up and down the country, it is especially vital that we use our respective platforms to encourage fans, players and everyone associated with the game to look after their mental health and each other.”
The Declaration has also been welcomed by Heads Up’s charity partners Mind, CALM and Sporting Chance, who will work with us all next season to take the Declaration forward.
You can find out more about the Heads Up campaign by visiting www.headstogether.org.uk/heads-up
If you need support from Mind visit Mind.org.uk for information and advice. You can also talk to Mind via the confidential Infoline on 0300 123 3393 or text 86463.