ARU is helping football to support mental health

Published: 14 August 2019 at 12:00

Wembley stadium

Research institute has joined with Football Association on ‘Heads Up’ initiative

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) is part of the team behind the latest initiative by the Football Association (FA) and mental health charity Heads Together to use the power of football to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Spearheaded by the Duke of Cambridge, the Heads Up campaign has been launched by the FA in time for the start of the new football season, to help show the nation that we all have mental health and it is just as important as physical health. 

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.

“Hopefully this highly visible campaign will help people understand that mental health is just as important as physical health.”