Southern League Shows Support For ’Mentally Healthy Football’
Southern League joins the football family in signing mentally healthy football declaration
The Southern Football League has welcomed a joint declaration from the UK football family signifying its support for building a mentally healthy environment at every level 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 roll out these efforts across the football system, share best practice, and support the development of ‘mentally healthy clubs’ at every level of the game.
The landmark Declaration has been signed by senior figures from across the football system, including the FA, the Premier League, the English Football League (EFL), Scottish FA, Wales FA, Irish FA, League Managers Association (LMA), Professional Footballers Association (PFA), Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and League Football Education (LFE).
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 weakness.
The landmark Declaration has been signed by CEOs and Chairs from across football, including The FA, the Premier League, the English Football League (EFL), the Scottish FA, FA Wales, the Irish FA, League Managers Association (LMA), Professional Footballers Association (PFA), Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), League Football Education (LFE), the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, the FA Women’s Championship, the FA Women’s National League, the National League, the Northern Premier League, the Southern League, and the Isthmian League.
In the Declaration, they say: “Now, more than ever, is the time for us to support each other and for all parts of society to prioritise mental health. We will do everything we can to play our part in this and help make football a ‘mentally healthy’ environment, now and in the future.”
These organisations will 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 drive progress towards the pledges in the declaration, which include rolling out mental health training and education to all clubs, implementing mental health strategies, and embedding mental health within policies and practices.
The Declaration has been welcomed by Heads Up’s charity partners Mind, CALM and Sporting Chance, who provided insight and expertise and will continue to work with the signatories next season as they take the commitments forward.
Godric Smith, Chair of the Heads Up campaign, said: “There has been fantastic leadership from every part of football on mental health this season and today’s declaration cements the huge culture change underway in the game. It is a first of its kind and an important moment for sport and society more widely. It comes at a time when prioritising our mental health and supporting each other has never mattered more.”
Spearheaded by The Duke of Cambridge, Heads Up is a season-long campaign between Heads Together and The FA to change the conversation around mental health through football. This Saturday (1st August) will see the ‘Heads Up FA Cup Final’ dedicated to the issue of mental health, which is expected to be one of the ongoing issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
For more information visit HeadsTogether.org.uk/Heads-Up