Heads Up: FA issues mental health guidance for coaches

The Football Association has issued new guidance notes for coaches on how to support the mental wellbeing of their players.

The new guide has been produced in partnership with Mind and a mental health advisory group put together by the FA.

The 36-page publication forms part of the season-long ‘Heads Up’ campaign, created by the FA in partnership with the ‘Heads Together’ initiative, which seeks to harness the influence and popularity of football to drive the biggest ever conversation on mental health.

In addition to information and advice on mental health and wellbeing, the guidance notes have been created to help coaches and managers spot the signs of mental health problems predominantly amongst male players, giving them the confidence to support and signpost to specialist help where necessary, including Heads Up’s charity partners and a 24/7 text support service. The notes will be distributed across grassroots adult football and will be made available to every coach and manager across the football pyramid.

FA chairman Greg Clarke said: “Understandably, football like society tends to focus on physical fitness, but mental fitness is just as important. We want to use football’s popularity and reach to highlight this and stimulate conversation in order to save lives.

“Coaches and managers have a unique and treasured relationship with their players and it is hoped these guidance notes will provide a valuable tool for them to spot the signs, support and sign-post where necessary. These notes are primarily aimed at coaches and managers within men’s football, but we will be producing further guidance notes for the women’s game and those working in youth football.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, added: “We’re delighted to have worked closely with The FA on creating this landmark guide. We hope that by adding this vital resource to the kit bag of football coaches and managers across the country we can ensure more footballers receive the mental health support they need, when they need it most.”

For more information on Heads Up and to download the new guide, click here.

In other news: Organisations unite to launch #21by21 mental health awareness campaign.