Southampton Football Club will be showing its support for the Heads Up campaign at next Saturday’s game against Burnley, as we unite with teams across the country to kick-off a conversation about mental health.
At games both this weekend and next, clubs will be supporting the initiative in a wide variety of ways, to highlight the power of talking as a way to support one another.
Ahead of Southampton’s dedicated game against Burnley, representatives from Saints Foundation this week attended the launch of the Heads Up Weekends, joining HRH The Duke of Cambridge at an event in London on Time To Talk Day.
hrh the duke of cambridgeit's time we start taking our mental fitness as seriously as we do our physical fitness.
on the heads up campaign
Spearheaded by Prince William, the season-long Heads Up campaign aims to harness the influence and popularity of football to normalise the conversation around mental health, working closely with charity partners Mind, CALM and Sporting Chance.
At this week’s event, Saints Foundation Project Officer Lisa Latona joined Saints4Sport participant Rich Ford, who spoke about the benefits of the charity’s sessions to both physical and mental health.
Saints4Sport aims to support those going through some of life’s biggest challenges, such as alcohol and substance misuse. Rich had struggles with his own mental health, but with the help of Lisa and Saints4Sport has been able to turn his life around, winning the first Jordan Willsher Award at Saints Foundation’s Charity Dinner last year.
In a message included in every matchday programme over the Heads Up Weekends, HRH The Duke of Cambridge wrote: “Imagine if we talked about mental health as much as we talk about football.
“Many of us won’t go a day without talking about it. And whatever team we support, every single fan, player and manager has one thing in common – we all have mental health, in the same way that we all have physical health. And we will all face ups and downs in life which will affect it.
“It’s time we start taking our mental fitness as seriously as we do our physical fitness, and that starts with talking.”
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “We are proud to support the Heads Up campaign to raise awareness of the importance of talking about mental health.
“Our clubs are already doing vital work in this area, whether that is within academies or working closely with local communities and schools to support mental wellbeing.
“All our clubs, their staff, managers and players are backing this campaign to help remove stigma and encourage fans to talk openly about their own mental health. Football has a major role to play and we hope that by joining the EFL and the FA for these weekends of action we can change the conversation.”
Fans are encouraged to join the conversation themselves using #KickOffAConversation and #HeadsUp.
You can also find out more and get tips from Heads Up’s charity partners (Mind, CALM, Sporting Chance and Heads Together) by visiting headstogether.org.uk.
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.
To find out more about Saints4Sport and the work of Saints Foundation, click here.