Football leaders come together for ‘landmark’ mental health declaration

PFA and Heads Up

The PFA has joined governing bodies, leagues and organisations from across UK football, in signing the landmark ‘Mentally Healthy Football Declaration’, as a legacy of the Heads Up campaign.

The declaration is pioneering a team approach, to build upon the important work that clubs and football organisations are already doing, in ensuring mental health is recognised as being just as important as physical health. Together, the football family across the UK will work together to scale up efforts across the football system and support the development of ‘mentally health clubs’ at every level of the game.

The season-long campaign Heads Up, which aims to change the conversation around mental health in football, is Spearheaded by the Duke of Cambridge, who has said the declaration: “…will benefit future generations who work and play within the game, but it will also send a clear message to football’s millions of fans about the important of mental health. That is a legacy we can all be proud of – following a season we will never forget”

Following an unprecedented season for football, mental health issues are more relevant than ever.  Through the Declaration, which was convened by The Royal Foundation, football has committed to working together to continue raising awareness of mental health, and to embed an environment across UK football:

  • Where players, staff, managers and officials are encouraged to look after their mental health just as they look after their physical health; 
  • where they feel able to spot the signs that they, a team-mate or colleague might be struggling and know where to access support; 
  • and where speaking out about mental health is seen as a sign of strength rather than weakness.

The landmark Declaration has been signed by CEOs and Chairs from across football, including The FA, the Professional Footballers' Association, Premier League, the English Football League,  the Scottish FA, FA Wales, the Irish FA, League Managers Association, Professional Game Match Officials, League Football Education, The Barclays FA Women’s Super League, The FA Women’s Championship, The FA Women’s National League, The National League, The Northern Premier League, The Southern League, and The Isthmian League.

PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor OBE said: “Since 2000, the PFA has provided mental health support to professional footballers across the leagues. Aside from our work educating players about their mental health, the PFA Charity also provides a 24/7 Wellbeing Helpline, access to a national network of counsellors and residential treatment.

"We know first-hand from our contact with players how crucial it is for football to become a ‘mentally healthy’ environment and we look forward to being part of the UK-wide mental health implementation group to help shape how that happens.”

WELLBEING SUPPORT

At the PFA, we’re proud to have had mental health at the top of our agenda for the past decade. It is important that all former and current players, are aware there is help available, especially during these unprecedented times. Your health and wellbeing remain our utmost priority. To access private and confidential support and services: