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Emirates FA Cup Ties To Highlight Mental Health

Matches To Be Delayed By A Minute

3 January 2020

HRH The Duke of Cambridge has narrated a powerful new film starring famous faces from the world of football including Frank Lampard, Harry Maguire and Alex Scott, to encourage fans to take simple steps to look after their mental health.

The film has been released as a collaboration between Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters, a ground-breaking mental health platform, and Heads Up, a season-long partnership between Heads Together and The FA, spearheaded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge

The one-minute film will be played to millions, as kick-off times across all Emirates FA Cup Third Round fixtures, including Blackpool's tie at Reading, are delayed by one-minute to focus on mental health. 

Research shows just under half of men (45%) who have experienced early signs of mental health concerns in the last year, have never taken self-care actions to manage it (compared to 31% of women).

While the collaboration is aimed at everyone including players, supporters, friends and families, it’s widely recognised that football can be a powerful way to reach men in particular. There are over 15 million football fans in England, 69% of whom are men.
A YouGov survey commissioned by PHE shows that men in England are less likely than women to seek help or take self-care actions for early signs of common mental health concerns. It showed:

  • Of the 78% of men who have experienced early signs of mental health concerns in the last year, just under half (45%) said they’d never taken self-care actions to manage their mental health, (compared to 31% of women)
  • Of those men that did take steps to manage or improve their mental health, over three quarters (73%) wished they’d taken action sooner
  • Men were also less likely to take self-care actions every day, with 18% of men doing so compared to one in four (24%) women.

Heads Up is a season-long partnership between The FA and Heads Together, and spearheaded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, which uses the popularity of football as a vehicle to generate the biggest ever conversation around mental health. For the Third Round, the campaign is now partnering with Every Mind Matters, a groundbreaking mental health platform from Public Health England.

By taking a minute to answer a few questions about how they are feeling, fans will get their own personalised action plan. Clinically assured by the NHS, the plan recommends a range of evidence based self-care actions for each individual, which are designed to deal with stress, boost their mood, improve sleep and feel more in control – preventing these common mental health concerns escalating into more serious, clinical conditions.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said: “As every fan knows, football has its highs and lows - and so does life. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring the football community together in an important conversation about how we can all take care of our mental health, starting with a few simple actions.”

Godric Smith, chair of the Heads Up campaign, comments: “Football is already doing some great work on mental health but it is really encouraging to see the whole game uniting around the Heads Up campaign in 2020 starting with the Emirates FA Cup third round. Support your team. Support your mates. And support yourself. The Every Mind Matters website is a great place to start. We all have mental health and we can all take a minute to think more about it and take simple, positive steps.”

Mark Bullingham, The FA’s Chief Executive, said: “We hope that the symbolic 60 second delay to all Emirates FA Cup third round fixtures will be the start of a journey for better mental health for the millions who will be watching one of English football’s most famous weekends. We’re delighted to have an association with Public Health England for this Round and to signpost fans to their ‘Every Mind Matters’ website, one of the simple steps that is readily available to drive change.”

Dr Hilary Jones, comments: “Most of us experience some sort of mental health difficulty during our lives and we know that men in particular struggle with acknowledging and acting on any problems. We hope this new partnership will be able to reach men and women in a way that helps them to take action to look after their mental health.”

Fans can search Every Mind Matters to create their own personal mental health action plan or visit www.everymindmatters.co.uk.

Those in need of immediate support can text ‘HeadsUp’ to 85258 to be connected to a trained crisis counsellor. This service is available 24/7, and free to text from most mobile networks.

In conjunction with Heads Up charity partners Mind, CALM, Heads Together and Sporting Chance, fans will also be provided with helpful tips and advice on The FA website on how they can approach managing their mental health, at www.thefa.com/headsup.


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