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19 August, 2019 - 20:03 By Tony Quested

FA to raise mental health awareness in soccer

Picture courtesy – mdleast1The Football Association (FA) and mental health charity Heads Together have teamed up in an initiative to raise awareness of mental health issues.

The ‘Heads Up’ campaign, spearheaded by the Duke of Cambridge aims to  show the UK that mental health is just as important as physical health. 

Anglia Ruskin University is playing a central role in the campaign.

ARU’s Veterans and Families Institute for Military Social Research (VFI) was a key player in the expert advisory group that informed the campaign, assisted with the development of the FA’s mental health questionnaire, and helped promote the mental health work of the FA.

Visible across The FA’s biggest assets and 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.

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.

Matt Fossey, Director of the VFI at ARU, said: “Football is the national game and is played, watched and loved by millions of people in the UK from all ages and backgrounds. It is a microcosm of society, and its popularity means it has an important role to play in promoting the importance of mental health.

“We are honoured to be able to play our part in this campaign and have worked with the FA in helping them understand some of the underlying issues around mental health.”

In 2015, former Blackpool, Burnley and QPR defender Clarke Carlisle –  once dubbed ‘Britain's brainiest footballer‘  – gave an interview to GQ Magazine in which he opened up about the game's ticking time bombs of depression, money, gambling and social media, plus his dream of helping others who suffer from the same mental illness that almost cost him his life.

Picture courtesy – mdleast1

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