The official launch of Heads Up will take place at Sunday’s FA Community Shield match between Liverpool and Manchester City and kicks-off a season of activities aimed at driving the biggest ever conversation on mental health.
Heads Up – launched by The Football Association [The FA] and Heads Together and spearheaded by The Duke of Cambridge - will harness the influence and popularity of football to highligh to the nation that we all have mental health and it is just as important as physical health. Visible across The FA’s biggest moments of the season, the campaign will strive to raise awareness, spark conversation and signpost support for those in need, with a 24/7 text support service established.
The launch moment for the 2019/20 season will be 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 will be led by two community choirs – iChoir from Liverpool and Bee Vocal from Manchester – both created to support mental wellbeing and to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health. The choirs will take to the pitch ahead of the teams to lead the iconic anthems, which both refer to themes of isolation and the importance of togetherness, pertinent to the core message behind the campaign. Heads Up branding will be visible across the stadium and on the LEDs during the fixture.
Following The FA Community Shield, the campaign will be expanded out 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 FA affiliated adult 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 charity partners Mind, CALM, Sporting Chance and Heads Together to raise vital funds for mental health initiatives and support.
People needings support will be guided to a number of support services available through the Heads Up charity partners as well as other mental health organisations. 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.
Mind's support of the Heads Up campaign comes as the charity is about to embark on its second season of as the Official Charity Partners of the English Footbll League (EFL). The partnership has already reached millions of fans with its information about mental health and visited over a third of the 72 EFL clubs raising vital funds for local Minds. It has exciting plans for the season ahead including a focuse around delivering training in all EFL clubs around mental health awareness and expanding its sports projects to more communities across the country.
The EFL, PFA, LMA and Premier League also support the objectives of the campaign and Heads Up will look to work with each of the organisations to highlight some of the great work they are already doing on mental health throughout the season.
“We all know about the power of football, not just as the national sport with an ability to unite people, but also as a force to influence and change society for the better. That’s why we’re delighted to be a part of the Heads Up campaign. This is a fantastic chance for the football family to come together and tackle mental health for good. This applies from the national team right through to the grassroots. We look forward to working closely with the Royal Foundation and The FA, as well as our other key partners in the sector, including the EFL and PFA, to build on their excellent work. We want to get the conversation about mental health going not just on the pitch and in the boardroom, but also on the terraces.”Sport