The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year.
The theme of this year's World Mental Health Day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is 'Mental health in an unequal world'.
From the beginning of the pandemic, The World Health Organisation has been tracking its impact on people's mental health. Their research has shown that some of the people struggling the most are those who were already facing considerable challenges – people with long term health conditions, or facing discrimination, or parenting on their own.
However, World Mental Health Day is also a chance to talk about mental health in general, how we need to look after it, and how important it is to talk about things and get help if you are struggling.
Mental Health and Football
Over the last few years The FA have launched Mental Health initiatives such as Heads Up and The Mental Health Football Declaration.
Heads Up - launched by The FA and Heads Together and spearheaded by The Duke of Cambridge in 2019 - aims to harness the influence and popularity of football to help show the nation that we all have mental health and it is just as important as physical health. The campaign strives to raise awareness, spark conversation and signpost support for those in need, with a 24/7 text support service established.
At a grassroots level, over the last couple of seasons, The FA have released comprehensive guidance for coaches and managers and referees to support them in identifying the signs of mental health and offer support and signposting where needed to help improve mental wellbeing, all as par of the Heads Up campaign.
Following on from the initial launch of Heads Up, last year in 2020 football came together to sign a joint Declaration committing to make mental health a key priority at all levels of the game, as a lasting legacy of the campaign.
The ‘Mentally Healthy Football’ Declaration will see governing bodies, leagues and organisations from across UK football recognising that mental health is as important as physical health, and pioneering a ‘team approach’ on this important issue. Together, the UK football family will build on the important work that clubs and football organisations are already doing, working together to scale up these efforts across the football system and support the development of ‘mentally healthy clubs’ at every level of the game.
Download The FA Mental Health Guidance for Coaches and Managers
Download The FA Mental Health Guidance for Referees