We've worked in partnership with the English Football League (EFL) since 2018 to raise awareness of mental health. This has included improving the approach to mental health in football, and raising vital funds to support our life-changing work.
The end of the 2021/22 season was also the final whistle for the ground-breaking ‘On your Side’ partnership.
The 4 years of the partnership have seen some fantastic moments and huge milestones reached. Clubs, players, staff, and fans pulled out all the stops to support us. We’ve seen signs of real cultural change, and some great results that demonstrate the positive impact of the partnership.
The On Your Side partnership may be officially over, but its legacy will live on.
Through parliamentary events and research, we’ve highlighted the power that sport has to change people’s lives. For example, our ‘Get it off your chest’ report on men’s mental health is helping to push for real change to Government policy.
Another example of the legacy of our partnership is our involvement with the Duke of Cambridge’s Heads Up campaign. The EFL along with all the football family have signed up to the Mentally Healthy Football Declaration. Through this, they're committing to building a mentally healthy culture at all levels of the game, now and for future generations.
To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, we launched a joint exhibition at the National Football Museum in Manchester. The exhibition celebrates 4 years of extraordinary collaboration.
“Seeing highlights of this truly game-changing partnership take pride of place in the National Football Museum is fantastic,” says Paul. “We hope that as many fans as possible get a chance to see the exhibition and that it serves as a reminder that, whoever you support, Mind will always be here to support you.”
Our Have Your Mate's Back campaign encouraged football fans to look out for their mates, and wear their shirts back to front, to support better mental health in football.
As part of Mind’s Charity Partnership with the EFL, a group of ten players and managers from the three Football Leagues were unveiled as ‘On Your Side’ Champions. They supported projects and campaigns throughout the Partnership.
Since the launch of the partnership, our ‘squiggle’ has appeared on the back of every EFL shirt across all Clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two, in a first for English football.
To celebrate the launch of the new design in 2020, we asked fans to share stories of their chosen names and numbers they wear on a matchday.
With 1 in 4 of us experiencing a mental health problem each year, and suicide being the leading cause of death for men under 45, we all know someone who needs support. If you're worried about the mental health of a mate, read through our tips on how to start a conversation.
Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.
Read some of the inspiring stories of people we've met through our partnership with the EFL.
Talking to someone who you trust is an important first step to getting help and support. This could be a friend, family member or professional.
Support for players: The Professional Footballers Association (PFA) provides a wide range of support to academy players and professional footballers. These include self-help resources, a confidential 24 hour helpline and counselling.
Support for managers: The League Managers Association (LMA) provides support to members through their health care scheme.
For more information about getting involved in Mind’s sports work, see our sports pages.