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📝 Exeter City joins as Football unites to kick off biggest ever conversation on mental health

Help us to spark a conversation

5 February 2020

Exeter City is uniting with football clubs across the country to kick off the biggest ever conversation on mental health.

Over the past two seasons, the EFL has joined forces with Mind, the mental health charity, to help improve football’s approach to mental health and raise awareness around the country

Now, for two weekends in February, every football team from across the Premier League, English Football League, The National League, The Barclays FA Women’s Super League, The FA Women’s Championship and The FA Women’s National League will dedicate their matches to Heads Up, a partnership between The FA and Heads Together.

Spearheaded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Heads Up aims to harness the influence and popularity of football to normalise the conversation around mental health.

The Heads Up Weekends will highlight the power of talking as a way to support one another and dispel the stigma, with activity planned at fixtures across the men’s and women’s football calendar.

On Saturday, February 8 at City's home match against Stevenage, the Grecians will join clubs across the nation to display the Heads Up emblem across stadiums, programmes and player kit, in a major unifying moment that aims to get the nation talking about mental health.

As part of the Heads Up Weekend, Exeter City will be sharing messages on the importance of talking about mental health.

Exeter City's Charity partner CITY Community Trust run a number of sessions that are active on promoting good mental health and providing a place for people to meet and chat.

The Sporting Memories group is open to men over the age of 50 who enjoy reminiscing about their experiences of watching or playing. There is always great fun and laughter in the sessions. New friendships are forged and some remarkable sporting stories often emerge. 

The All Call Signs Cafe, held at St James Park every Tuesday between 10am and 12pm, is for Ex or current Armed Forces and their families and provides an opportunity for like-minded people to talk through their expeirences of services and their lifes after in a safe and friendly atmosphere.

The club host's an Andy's Man club session on a monday night and in conjuction with AMC on a Tuesday evening there is a Womens Wellbeing session held at St James Park.

If you would like to find out more, please contact CITY Community Trust on 01392 255 611 or by emailing: fitc.admin@ecfc.co.uk

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With over 15 million football fans in England, Heads Up aims to use the power of football as a way to show the nation that we all have mental health and it is just as important as physical health. Over the Heads Up Weekends, the aim is to reach every single football fan to raise awareness that we will all face ups and downs in life which will affect our mental health, but we can all do more to support each other - and that starts with talking.

The weekend will further highlight the important work taking place across football to improve the approach to mental health in football. This includes the EFL and Mind’s ground-breaking charity partnership, which began in 2018 and has provided increased visibility, important training and support for Clubs, staff and fans, and raised vital funds for the mental health charity.

The simple power of conversation - talking and listening – can be the first step to better mental health, and to making it OK to say we’re not OK. 

Peter Ferlie, health and well being officer at City Community Trust's said: "I can't over emphaise the importance of being able to find someone to talk to when your find yourself with the dark clouds of life hanging over you.

"The four groups that we host at CCT give the attendees a chance to talk either in the group or one to one about what ever they are facing, in a non-judgemental, safe, supportive and friendly space. 
 
"Sometimes it's easier to talk to some one outside your immediate family or friendship circle. I have found once you start talking about a particular issue that is worrying you or bringing you down, a weight is lifted off your shoulders and slowly things will get easier.
 
"If you are expierencing tough times please, please make sure you find someone or organiastion to go to talk. From my own personal expierence, once you make the effort and have the courage to walk through a door to talk to someone new, it definately makes a difference and you can move forward.

Exeter City captain Jake Taylor added: "It is important that we all find the time to talk and share and help to dispel the stigma surrounding mental health. Football is one of the largest platforms in the world so we are honoured to be able to do our bit in raising awareness.

EFL Chairman Rick Parry, said: “Through our ground-breaking partnership with Mind, the EFL and its Clubs have worked hard to improve the approach to mental health in football and wider society, over the past two seasons.

“Football provides a platform like no other to raise awareness and tackle society’s biggest issues and we’re proud to offer our support to the Heads Up campaign, as football comes together to further encourage the conversation around mental health. I look forward to seeing the impact over the two weekends.”

Whether you or someone you know is struggling, or if you want to help dispel the stigma, kick off a conversation about mental health this weekend. 

Join the conversation using #KickOffAConversation and #HeadsUp.  

Find out more and get tips from Heads Up’s charity partners (Mind, CALM, Sporting Chance and Heads Together) – visit www.headstogether.org.uk/heads-up.

Those wanting immediate support can also text ‘HeadsUp’ to 85258 to connect with a trained crisis volunteer – a service run by ‘Shout’ and powered by Crisis Text Line, which is available 24/7 and free to text from most mobile networks.

For further advice and support please visit www.mind.org.uk. To learn more about the EFL’s partnership with Mind, please visit: mind.org.uk/onyourside


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