EFL and Mind are supporting mental health across the country
This month, the English Football League (EFL) and Mind are celebrating the two year anniversary of their groundbreaking ‘On Your Side’ partnership.
Established in 2018 to raise awareness of mental health amongst fans, raise funds for Mind’s support services and improve the approach to mental health in the EFL; the partnership has been extended until the end of the 2021/22 season.
Since the partnership began, awareness of the EFL and Mind partnership has increased 36% amongst the male population with more people talking about mental health.
Additionally, 930 people at EFL clubs received mental health training from local Minds with a further 1,523 receiving training online. 98% of staff reported that it positively changed their attitudes and 10 player and manager champions have signed up to spread vital messages about mental health and their own experiences in the game.
For example, fantastic signs of cultural change emerged, as Ipswich fans displayed a supportive banner for Accrington Stanley player Billy Kee who had been experiencing mental health problems while Johnny Hunt, a Reading fan, held walk and talk sessions before home games
Furthermore, 9 clubs have partnered with local Minds to deliver the ‘Get Set To Go’ programme, that helps people with mental health problems to get physically active. These include, Charlton Athletic, Millwall, Carlisle United, Derby County, AFC Wimbledon, Stevenage, Newport County, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland
Coronavirus: A community response
Responding to the coronavirus pandemic, the strength of collaboration has been underlined as the EFL and Mind united to spread vital messages about support. And just as Mind’s services helped thousands of people across the country, EFL clubs and their Club Community Organisations responded en masse to help vulnerable groups including those self-isolating, the homeless, children in the care system and those living with a disability.
Across the EFL network, over 120,000 one to one calls were made; 210,000 food parcels were delivered and 250,000 school pupils took part in the EFL Trust’s home school ‘Joy of Moving’ programme.
Alastair Campbell, Mind Ambassador: “I took part in the launch of Mind and EFL’s partnership at Villa Park two years ago, and was incredibly excited about its potential, knowing the power football has to reach men in particular and encourage them to talk and be open about their mental health. I always get a little thrill watching EFL games on TV and seeing the Mind logo on players’ shirts. It is fantastic to look back today and see how much the partnership has achieved to date, and the part it has played in putting football at the forefront of changing attitudes to mental health.”
“Using the platform and reach of the EFL has helped us to raise awareness of mental health and Mind’s services amongst EFL fans across the country and I am looking forward to seeing what more can be done in the second half of the partnership.”
Dr Rosena Alin Khan, Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health: “The mental health benefits of sport are profound.
“Clubs provide a platform for fans to talk openly about the issues they face, working in communities to remove the stigma around mental health.
“The partnership between Mind and the EFL has been the perfect marriage of mental health and sport, and it has achieved so much already. I'm looking forward to seeing what more can be achieved through this partnership."
Nigel Huddleston, Sports Minister said: "The stress, uncertainty and change triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has brought into focus how looking after our mental health is just as important as our physical health.
"This collaboration between the EFL and Mind has delivered a great deal of positive work in bringing communities together, helping to raise the profile of mental health and providing support where it is most needed."