The FA has issued new guidance notes to coaches and managers working across the adult football pyramid, advising them on how to support the mental wellbeing of their players.
The new guide has been produced in partnership with Mind and a mental health advisory group put together by The FA. The 36-page publication forms an important part of The FA and Heads Together’s ‘Heads Up’ campaign, which seeks to harness the influence and popularity of football to drive the biggest ever conversation on mental health.
In addition to information and advice on mental health and wellbeing, the guidance notes have been created to help coaches and managers spot the signs of mental health problems predominantly amongst male players, giving them the confidence to support and signpost to specialist help where necessary, including Heads Up’s charity partners and a 24/7 text support service. The notes will be distributed across grassroots adult football and will be made available to every coach and manager across the football pyramid.
Quotes and personal testimonies are included in the guide from across the football spectrum. It also includes a section for coaches and managers on looking after themselves, as well as tips on actions to take in an emergency. Further tips cover how to have a conversation with someone about their mental health, what language is and isn’t acceptable – as well as the answers to frequently-asked questions on the overall topic.
Heads Up is a season-long campaign spearheaded by The Duke of Cambridge which will show the nation that we all have mental health, and that it is just as important as physical health. The Duke will visit non-league Hendon FC on Friday 6 September to discuss the future impact of the guidance and learn more about the club’s mental health outreach initiatives.
Greg Clarke, The FA’s Chairman said: “Understandably, football like society tends to focus on physical fitness, but mental fitness is just as important. We want to use football’s popularity and reach to highlight this and stimulate conversation in order to save lives. Coaches and managers have a unique and treasured relationship with their players and it is hoped these guidance notes will provide a valuable tool for them to spot the signs, support and sign-post where necessary. These notes are primarily aimed at coaches and managers within men’s football, but we will be producing further guidance notes for the women’s game and those working in youth football.”
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “We’re delighted to have worked closely with The FA on creating this landmark guide. We hope that by adding this vital resource to the kit bag of football coaches and managers across the country we can ensure more footballers receive the mental health support they need, when they need it most.”
Those in need of immediate support can text ‘HeadsUp’ to 85258 to be connected to a trained crisis counselor. This service is available 24/7, and free to text from most mobile networks.