Heads Up – launched by The Football Association 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 campaign will strive to raise awareness, spark conversation and signpost support for those in need, with a crisis text support service established.
While it’s aimed at everyone including players, supporters, friends and families, it’s widely recognised that football is a uniquely powerful way to reach men in particular. Men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, with suicide the most likely cause of death for men under the age of 45.
Heads Up will show men that we all have mental health just like we have physical health.
The Duke of Cambridge
The campaign hopes to encourage more men to feel comfortable talking about their mental health, and feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times.
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 launch moment for the 2019-20 season was officially marked during Sunday’s FA Community Shield’s pre-match ceremony, when a short film by The Duke of Cambridge will introduce the Heads Up campaign and encourage both sets of fans to join in the singing of the clubs’ anthems, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and ‘Blue Moon’.
The singing was led by two community choirs – iChoir from Liverpool and Bee Vocal from Manchester – both were created to support mental wellbeing and to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health.
We all need to take care of our everyday mental fitness, and provide support to one another when we face setbacks, so we can be match fit for whatever lies ahead.
The Duke of Cambridge
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 adult FA affiliated 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.