League Football Education has joined other football organisations to sign a joint Declaration committing to building a mentally healthy environment at all levels of the game, as a lasting legacy of the Heads Up campaign.
The Mentally Healthy Football Declaration will see all of UK football recognising that mental health is a priority for positive action. 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 develop ‘mentally healthy clubs’ at every level of the game.
Following an unprecedented season for football, mental health issues are more relevant than ever.
Through the Declaration, football has committed to working together to embed an environment across all of UK football:
- where players and staff 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
- where speaking out about mental health is seen as a sign of strength rather than weakness
The landmark Declaration has also been signed by other CEOs from across the football ecosystem, including the FA, the Premier League, the English Football League (EFL), Scottish FA, Wales FA, Irish FA, League Managers Association (LMA), Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).
LFE Chief Executive Sarah Stephen signed the declaration on a video call with The Duke earlier this month, alongside other senior leaders of each organisation.
She said: “League Football Education is dedicated to raising awareness of mental health for Academy players and staff within EFL clubs. Signing the ‘Mentally Healthy Football Declaration’ is confirmation of LFE’s continued commitment to changing the conversation around mental health and we look forward to being part of the UK-wide mental health implementation group next season.”
The Declaration will see the formation of a UK-wide mental health implementation group next season, working towards a collective ‘game plan’ for the first time to ensure the mental health of players, staff, managers, coaches and officials is prioritised across the game. Together, the group will share best practice and progress towards the pledges in the declaration, which include rolling out training, education and guidance to all clubs, implementing mental health strategies, and embedding mental health within policies and practices.
This will build on the ongoing work LFE is already doing to promote mental health, which includes long-standing collaboration with If U Care Share Foundation and The Sporting Chance Clinic as part of an extensive Life Skills programme for players aged Under-9 to Under-23, parents and club staff. LFE has also developed a Personal Development programme for apprentices, with mentors and online resources providing opportunities to support Academy players’ performance, well-being and transition.
The Declaration has also been welcomed by Heads Up’s charity partners Mind, CALM and Sporting Chance, who will work in partnership all next season to take the Declaration forward.
You can find out more about the Heads Up campaign by visiting their website.