A recent BBC documentary featuring The Duke of Cambridge and England manager Gareth Southgate outlined a new campaign called Heads Up. The film followed the announcement from Heads Together and The FA about the campaign, which is designed to generate the biggest ever conversation around mental health.
The film also included Thierry Henry, Peter Crouch and Jermaine Jenas.
The campaign will harness the influence and popularity of football to help show the world that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness, and will build on the decades of work to tackle the stigma and drive the conversation on mental health.
While it’s aimed at everyone including players, supporters, friends and families, it’s widely recognised that football is a uniquely powerful way to reach men in particular. Men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, with suicide the most likely cause of death for men under the age of 45. The campaign hopes to encourage more men to feel comfortable talking about their mental health, and feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times.
Heads Up will be launched at The FA Community Shield in August 2019 and will culminate at the May 2020 FA Cup Final, where Emirates has generously agreed to support the Heads Up campaign. The campaign will be visible across all levels of football in England throughout the course of the 2019/20 season, including the men’s and women’s England teams, FA competitions and grassroots – from England matches through to the Emirates FA Cup. The FA will give more details of this broad ambitious campaign at the start of next season at The FA Community Shield.
During next season dedicated promotional activity will aim to spark conversations while resources and training will be available to all football participants and FA staff.
The Duke of Cambridge said: “As President of The FA I saw an opportunity to bring the sport I love – that many men talk about more than anything else in their lives – to help lead the next phase of the conversation. Over the last two years, we’ve been working behind the scenes to decide the best way to harness the power of football to change the way men think about mental health. Heads Up will show men that we all have mental health just like we have physical health. Building on the amazing attitude that led England to the World Cup Semi-Finals, it will show us all that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness.”
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