What is Heads Up? Why Premier League clubs are embracing FA’s mental health initiative

The Football Association, Premier League and many others are working together to promote the royal’s campaign

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The maintenance of strong mental health has become an increasingly important issue for society and football is no different, with clubs and players beginning to engage more with initiatives.

In the United Kingdom, the Duke of Cambridge Prince William is driving one such initiative, known as Heads Together, which is promoting a campaign called Heads Up.

Goal brings you everything you need to know about Heads Up and the Premier League’s involvement in the nationwide campaign.

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What is Heads Up?

Heads Up is a campaign which aims to encourage the conversation about mental health in football. The campaign hopes to emphasise that the mental health of players is as important as their physical health. 

It is a collaborative effort between Heads Together – which is run by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – and the FA in conjunction with clubs across the football spectrum, including those in the Premier League.

They have already worked together with the FA on Take a Minute, which saw the kick-off times in every FA Cup third-round match in January delayed by 60 seconds in order to encourage a moment of reflection on people’s mental health. 

A promotional video involving a number of high-profile players and managers urged people to complete an Every Mind Matters quiz in order to get their own ‘Mind Plan’. That initiative resulted in over 80,000 people signing up over the weekend of the games.

What & when are the Heads Up Weekends?

The latest Heads Up focus is Heads Up Weekends and the aim is to highlight the power of talking about issues affecting one’s mental health. 

Heads Up Weekends will see every team from the Premier League, the English Football League, the National League, the Women’s Super League, the Women’s Championship and the Women’s National League dedicate matches to Heads Up. Activities and unique events at various clubs will also be held.

The initiative will be held across two weekends in February – February 8 – 9 and February 15 – 16.

Heads Up branding will feature around stadiums, in match programmes and on team kits. As well as that, the following message from Prince William will appear in match programmes:

“Imagine if we talked about mental health as much as we talk about football… 

“Many of us won’t go a day without talking about it. And whatever team we support, every single fan, player and manager has one thing in common – we all have mental health, in the same way that we all have physical health.

“And we will all face ups and downs in life which will affect it. It’s time we start taking our mental fitness as seriously as we do our physical fitness, and that starts with talking.”

Why are Premier League clubs supporting Heads Up?

Premier League clubs, along with their counterparts across the men’s and women’s game, are backing Heads Up in an attempt to break down barriers for individuals suffering from mental health issues.

“We are proud to support the Heads Up campaign to raise awareness of the importance of talking about mental health,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters. 

“Our clubs are already doing vital work in this area, whether that is within academies or working closely with local communities and schools to support mental wellbeing.

“All our clubs, their staff, managers and players are backing this campaign to help remove stigma and encourage fans to talk openly about their own mental health.

“Football has a major role to play and we hope that by joining the EFL and the FA for these weekends of action we can change the conversation.”

Find out more about Heads Up

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