Chris Maxwell and James Husband took part in an online discussion on Thursday night, as part of the EFL's Team Talk campaign.
The pair joined Community Trust staff and participants who had engaged in specific Trust programmes to converse about mental health, as well as answer questions about their careers as footballers.
Delivered via Zoom, the hour-long session was of great benefit to all involved and is one of numerous to be delivered by the Trust throughout lockdown.
“We were really interested to hear what the group had to say. Mental health is an important discussion to have," first-team captain Chris Maxwell said.
“Forums like this are vital because sometimes people don’t have the immediate support network that others do. This gives the opportunity for everybody involved to support each other, and that can make a real difference.
“I was able to offer some of my experiences and honest insight into how I deal with things in my own life, and we also had some tricky football questions to answer, too. I think everybody enjoyed it.”
Scott, a programme participant who engaged in the session, welcomed how open the players were on the subject of mental health.
“Maxi [Chris] got me a bit, it’s a weird thing to know even more successful people have their own struggles, too," he commented.
New research into men’s mental health suggests that, while some progress has been made, men feel worried or low more regularly than ten years ago and are consequently twice as likely to feel suicidal.
The findings are part of ‘Get It Off Your Chest: Men’s mental health 10 years on’ – a report commissioned by Mind as part of its charity partnership with the League. The report compares new polling data from YouGov* with results from 2009 to understand how the challenges facing men’s mental health have changed over the past 10 years.
To help keep supporters connected to their Clubs, Team Talk sessions will informally bring fans together (virtually or in-person where safe to do so) to talk about football – helping them stay connected during what can be a difficult time of year for many.
The sessions build on the excellent community work of Clubs throughout the pandemic which has included befriending phone calls, online social groups, a pen-pal scheme, social action from young people taking part in NCS and socially distanced ‘garden gate’ conversations across EFL communities to reach the people who require this vital support right when they need it the most.
Blackpool FC Community Trust has many options available, from doorstep visits (current safety measures in place) to simple welfare phone calls. There are fitness programmes, which include mobility aids and a training plan to do at home, plus a ‘Sporting Memories’ session where a person will receive a special box of memorabilia and action plan to help with mental health and combating loneliness. One of the most recent guests was former Seasider Tony Green.
If you know somebody who could benefit from an engagement such as the ones mentioned, then please get in touch with Blackpool FC Community Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org
* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,111 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10–11 September 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).