Oxfordshire FA is uniting with football clubs across the country to kick off the biggest-ever conversation on mental health.
For two weekends in February, every football team from across the Premier League, English Football League, The National League, The Barclays FA Women’s Super League, The FA Women’s Championship and The FA Women’s National League will dedicate their matches to Heads Up, a partnership between The FA and Heads Together.
Spearheaded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Heads Up aims to harness the influence and popularity of football to normalise the conversation around mental health.
The topic is something of key importance to Oxfordshire FA, with staff at the association undertaking Mental Health First Aid training in September 2019, so as to better understand and support anybody experiencing issues with their mental health.
The Heads Up Weekends will highlight the power of talking as a way to support one another and dispel the stigma, with activity planned at fixtures across the men’s and women’s football calendar.
Clubs across the nation will join in by displaying the Heads Up emblem across stadiums, programmes and player kit, in a major unifying moment that aims to get the nation talking about mental health.
With over 15 million football fans in England, Heads Up aims to use the power of football as a way to show the nation that we all have mental health and it is just as important as physical health. Over the Heads Up Weekends, the aim is to reach every single football fan to raise awareness that we will all face ups and downs in life which will affect our mental health, but we can all do more to support each other - and that starts with talking.
The simple power of conversation - talking and listening – can be the first step to better mental health, and to making it OK to say we’re not OK.
Ian Mason, Chief Executive Officer at Oxfordshire FA, said: “Oxfordshire FA is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with clubs and leagues across the country in launching the biggest-ever conversation on mental health and supporting the Heads Up campaign. As an association, the wellbeing of everybody involved in football at all levels is of the utmost importance and we encourage clubs and leagues affiliated to us to join Oxfordshire FA in supporting the two weekends of action.”
Kelly Simmons, The FA’s Director of the Women’s Professional Game said: “It’s significant that clubs across the men’s and women’s football pyramid are uniting together around such an important societal issue. Over recent years the women’s game has been home to inspirational role models who have spoken with courage about their mental wellbeing and now because of the Heads Up campaign and the excellent work conducted by the leagues and clubs, we hope that these individuals are no longer the lone voices but part of a societal change for us all to speak more openly about mental health. We’re grateful to all our clubs in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship and FA Women’s National leagues for their unequivocal support and look forward to the positive change that this weekend will have.”
Whether you or someone you know is struggling, or if you want to help dispel the stigma, kick off a conversation about mental health this weekend.
Join the conversation using #KickOffAConversation and #HeadsUp.
Find out more and get tips from Heads Up’s charity partners (Mind, CALM, Sporting Chance and Heads Together) – visit www.headstogether.org.uk/heads-up.
Those wanting immediate support can also text ‘HeadsUp’ to 85258 to connect with a trained crisis volunteer – a service run by ‘Shout’ and powered by Crisis Text Line, which is available 24/7 and free to text from most mobile networks.