Swansea City joins as football unites to kick off biggest-ever conversation on mental health
Swansea City is uniting with football clubs across the country to kick off the biggest-ever conversation on mental health.
Over the past two seasons, the EFL has joined forces with Mind, the mental health charity, to help improve football’s approach to mental health and raise awareness around the country.
In addition, Swansea City recently announced Welsh mental health charity, Hafal, as our main charity partner for the rest of the season.
Hafal, which is Welsh for equal, is the principle organisation in Wales working with people recovering from serious mental illness, as well as their families and friends.
The club has made a £5,000 donation to help the mental health organisation build on its vital work in the community.
Now, 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 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.
For our game against Derby County on Saturday, Swansea City will join clubs across the nation to display 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.
As part of the Heads Up campaign, Swansea City will also be holding a bucket collection and awareness activations at the Liberty Stadium for our game against Luton on March 18, while our Community Trust department are working with schools, youth engagement, employability and other post-16 groups on developing resilience and improving mental health.
The club, who are fundraising for and working with Welsh mental health group Hafal as our main charity partner, also held a Time To Talk breakfast on Thursday to discuss mental health issues and awareness with staff.
We have also introduced mental health support on matchdays and plan to introduce regular drop in sessions at the stadium for supporters looking for help and guidance through Hafal.
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 weekend will further highlight the important work taking place across football to improve the approach to mental health in football.
This includes the EFL and Mind’s ground-breaking charity partnership, which began in 2018 and has provided increased visibility, important training and support for Clubs, staff and fans, and raised vital funds for the mental health charity.
The simple power of conversation - talking and listening – can be the first step to better mental health, and to making it okay to say we’re not okay.
Swansea City striker Liam Cullen said: "It's so important that we challenge the myths that remain around mental health, and make sure there is a greater understanding of the real facts and nature of mental illness."
EFL Chairman Rick Parry, said: “Through our ground-breaking partnership with Mind, the EFL and its Clubs have worked hard to improve the approach to mental health in football and wider society, over the past two seasons.
“Football provides a platform like no other to raise awareness and tackle society’s biggest issues and we’re proud to offer our support to the Heads Up campaign, as football comes together to further encourage the conversation around mental health. I look forward to seeing the impact over the two weekends.”
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.
For further advice and support please visit www.mind.org.uk. To learn more about the EFL’s partnership with Mind, please visit: mind.org.uk/onyourside