The Football Association have joined other football organisations to sign a joint declaration committing to building a mentally healthy environment at all levels of the game, as a lasting legacy of the Heads Up campaign.
The Mentally Healthy Football Declaration will see all of UK football recognising that mental health is as important as physical health, and pioneering a ‘team approach’ on this important issue. The UK football family will build on the important work that clubs and football organisations are already doing, working together to scale up these efforts across the football system.
This will develop ‘mentally healthy clubs’ at every level of the men’s and women’s game. Following an unprecedented season for football, mental health issues are more relevant than ever. Through the declaration, football has committed to working together to embed an environment across all of UK football:
* where players and staff are encouraged to look after their mental health just as they look after their physical health;
* where they feel able to spot the signs that they, a team mate or colleague might be struggling and know where to access support;
* and where speaking out about mental health is seen as a sign of strength rather than a weakness.
The landmark declaration has also been signed by other CEOs from across the football ecosystem, including the Premier League, the English Football League, Scottish FA, Wales FA, Irish FA, League Managers Association, Professional Footballers Association, Professional Game Match Officials Limited and League Football Education.
Mark Bullingham (The FA’s Chief Executive), Kelly Simmons (The FA’s Director of the Women’s Professional Game) and Jack Pearce (Vice Chair of The FA) signed the declaration on a video call with The Duke earlier this month, alongside other senior leaders of each organisation.
Bullingham said: “The Heads Up campaign was a step in the collective journey to end the silence and change the attitudes and behaviours towards mental health. The declaration will see football unite to deliver a long-lasting legacy for the campaign. Working together we will continue the progress made to build a culture in the men’s and women’s game that truly supports, listens and sign-posts.”
The declaration will see football form a UK-wide mental health implementation group next season, working towards a collective ‘game plan’ for the first time to ensure the mental health of players, staff, managers, coaches and officials is prioritised across the game.
Together, the group will share best practice and progress towards the pledges in the declaration, which include rolling out training, education and guidance to all clubs, implementing mental health strategies and embedding mental health within policies and practices.
This season has seen The FA partner with Heads Together to deliver the season-long Heads Up campaign to change the conversation around mental health through football, working with charity partners Mind, CALM and Sporting Chance.
This Saturday (1st August) will see the FA Cup Final renamed in honour of the Heads Up campaign. Saturday’s showpiece event in the football calendar will be known as the Heads Up FA Cup Final. You can find out more about the Heads Up campaign by visiting The FA's website.