The English Premier League is currently on their first-ever winter break but using it to the best of their ability to reach out to fans. Recently, it was announced that for two weekends in February, Premier League clubs would come together to speak on mental health. According to research, only 1 in every 3 football fans regularly opens up on their mental health with their friends.
The initiative which is sprung up by Heads Up and partnered by the Football Association says, ”the campaign aims to harness the influence and popularity of football to normalize the conversation around mental health.”
The event hopes to highlight the power of talking with close friends and family as a way to help support one another. It also hopes to dispel the stigma of keeping one’s thought to yourself and reaching out for help when needed.
Each English Premier League Club will release a short film put together by their players speaking on mental health. Players will also give advice on how to improve ones mental health as well as give resources where one can reach out to for help.
According to a new survey done by Heads Up out of 2,014 football fans carried out by Censuswide:
”Football is the number one topic of conversation (75%) between fans and their friends.”
”However, only 1 in 3 (34%) football fans regularly talk about mental health with their friends – with male fans much less likely to do so (27% of male respondents, compared to 47% of women). Overall, male football fans were over three times more likely to talk about football than mental health with their friends (83%, compared with 27%).”
”Meanwhile, 40% of football fans find it easiest to talk about their mental health while busy with other activities – such as while walking or running, driving, going to the pub, or watching sports with a friend. Meanwhile, 32% would find it easiest to have a face to face conversation at home with no distractions.”
The women’s English Premier League teams are also expected to participate in this initiative. Each Club will have activities set up that will allow fans to interact and give them a chance to speak more freely on their mental health. While this event is sure to be an educating and enlightened one, it will help remove the stigma that prevents many, especially men from speaking out.
HRH the Duke of Cambridge has already visited Everton FC over the weekend and is expected to visit more clubs.
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 the 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.”
The Premier League will resume matches after the winter break this weekend February 8-9. The fixtures for this weekend are as follows:
- Everton vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, February 8 at 12:30 pm)
- Brighton vs Watford (Saturday, February 8 at 5:30 pm)
- Sheffield United vs Bournemouth (Sunday, February 9 at 2 pm)
- Man City vs West Ham (Sunday, February 9 at 4:30 pm)