The English Football League has announced mental health charity Mind as its new official charity partner from the start of the 2018/19 season.
The goal of the partnership is to enhance and improve the way that football, sport and society approaches mental health and will seek to increase awareness and understanding amongst fans, clubs and staff alike.
The EFL will work with its network of 72 clubs and community trusts to promote Mind’s message and services with four ambitions to promote better mental health; support EFL players, managers and staff; raise awareness about mental health with fans, clubs and staff; raise funds to deliver life changing support; and improve the approach to mental health in the EFL, in football and in wider society
Mind were chosen to become the EFL’s official charity partner on an initial two-year term following a tender process. A campaign will be developed to ensure everyone experiencing a mental health problem knows how to get support, with clear messaging and advice to be communicated through all 72 Clubs, community activity and online promotion.
In addition, the EFL has confirmed that a legacy relationship will remain in place with Prostate Cancer UK (PCUK) beyond the end of the current season. Over the last six years, the EFL has forged a charity partnership with the charity that has raised over £3m funds for the cause, reached millions of football supporters and raised awareness of the disease which now kills one man every 45 minutes in the UK.
EFL chief executive, Shaun Harvey, said: “The partnership between the EFL and Mind offers us a unique opportunity to foster positive health and wellbeing of millions of individuals who have a connection with football, whether they are players, supporters or work within the game.
“We know that improving mental health is a huge challenge in society, especially for men, but through this partnership we will be proud to help raise awareness about mental health, reduce stigma and hopefully have a positive impact on the lives of millions of individuals who currently suffer in silence.
“In choosing to partner with Mind, the EFL is showing a real commitment to an issue that affects players, staff and fans alike. Some good work is already underway by the Professional Footballers Association and League Managers Association to address mental health and this partnership will be a significant opportunity to broaden out that mental health support and raise awareness to wider club staff and supporters. Together, we hope to embed long-term change in how EFL clubs and communities approach mental health.”
Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Tracey Crouch, said: “Sport has an incredible power not only to raise people’s physical health but also to improve mental wellbeing. I am delighted to see the EFL partner with Mind to use sport and football to increase awareness of this important issue. This complements the work that we are doing in government on mental health, as part of my sport strategy."
Mind’s president Stephen Fry said: “As a lifelong Norwich City fan and President of Mind, I am delighted that the EFL have decided to put a focus on mental health. So many men in particular struggle in silence with their mental health and feel terribly alone. But football is a uniting force and this partnership has the potential to tackle the shame and stigma around mental health and raise awareness amongst millions of fans in an unprecedented way. I hope that all 72 EFL Clubs, their players and fans get firmly behind this work.”