Royal support for mental health champions
The need to help everyone have good mental as well as physical health is now well understood. But there is much to do, to ensure that those who are struggling with their mental health are supported in ways that are appropriate to their needs and that there is a network of services available to provide the care and attention that is required.
Football has traditionally been seen as a macho and somewhat unforgiving environment, with perhaps a less than forgiving outlook for those who are suffering. Hopefully, though, real change is afoot. In line with a general heightening of awareness, a number of high profile sportsmen and women have opened up to the media about their difficulties with their mental well-being. Now, in partnership with the Royal Foundation’s Heads Together initiative, the FA is launching Heads Up, a campaign to ensure both that the everyone involved in the football family is knowledgeable about mental health issues, is aware of the difficulties that some people might be going through, and importantly how they can help and where to find more professional support, if needed.
Last week, drawing on the input of MIND and an expert panel of advisors, the FA launched its first in a series of guidance booklets on mental health, this one focusing on the needs of adults. This is to be highly commended and the document can be found here, together with the accompanying here from FA Chairman, Greg Clarke.
As part of the launch of this initiative, FA President and founder of the Royal Foundation, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, paid a visit to Hendon FC, at Silver Jubilee Park in Kingsbury, just a short hop from Wembley Stadium itself, where WNST has been supporting the club’s hugely innovative work in the field of mental health, recognising that power that football really has to change people’s lives. His Royal Highness heard about their many different projects, in partnership with the local NHS Foundation Trust, local voluntary sector organisations and others, to encourage local people with mental ill health to get active, reduce their social isolation and improve their mental-being. Even to the extent that any local individual with a mental health condition can go along and watch a match at Hendon for free, to help them feel part of the local community, get out into the fresh air and enjoy the game.
WNST CEO, Stewart Goshawk, was pleased to be part of a short round table discussion with His Royal Highness, alongside colleagues from the local authority, voluntary sector and Hendon FC itself. His Royal Highness was keen to learn about the key elements of the partnership at Hendon that make it so successful and how therefore the work and its impact might be replicable in other community football settings, outside of the bright lights of the Premier League.
WNST is proud to be supporting this work and helping make a real difference to the lives of local people in Brent.