The EFL and mental health charity Mind are joining forces to promote the benefits of healthy bodies and healthy minds, by using the power of football to improve the nation’s mental well-being in a ground breaking new partnership.
From the start of the 2018/19 season, Mind will become the EFL’s new Official Charity Partner with a goal 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.
With one in four individuals affected by mental health problems, the EFL will work with its network of 72 clubs and community trusts to promote Mind’s message and services to millions nationwide with four ambitions to promote better mental health:
a) Support EFL players, managers and staff.
b) Raise awareness about mental health with fans, clubs and staff.
c) Raise funds to deliver life changing support.
d) 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 from the start of the 2018/19 season on an initial two-year term following a robust tender process.
A high profile 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.
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.
“I would like to thank Mind for their approach to the tender process and look forward to working closely with the charity to create a lasting legacy for the game, its clubs and communities.”
Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer said: “We are delighted to be working with the EFL on this exciting new partnership which we hope will be a game changer in increasing awareness and understanding of mental health and raising vital funds to support Mind’s work.
"Football brings millions of people together and is a great platform to start positive conversations. One in four of us is affected by a mental health problem which means that at every club, on every terrace and in every community we need to be prioritising mental health.
“We’re looking forward to joining forces with the EFL to support thousands more people to get active and experience the mood boosting benefits of exercise. We know that getting physically active through team sports such as football can help us feel more connected and increase our overall mental health and wellbeing.
“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.”
In addition, the EFL is pleased to confirm that a legacy relationship will remain in place with Prostate Cancer UK beyond the end of the current season.
Over the last six years, the EFL has forged a highly successful charity partnership with Prostate Cancer UK that has raised over £3 million of life changing 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.
Maintaining support to a cause that has become synonymous with football fans around the country, the EFL has committed to support and promote the highly popular ‘Football to Amsterdam’ cycle ride which takes place at the end of every season and has become a firm fixture in the football calendar.
Support to Prostate Cancer UK will also be provided on its Man of Men logo campaign which managers support throughout the season with pin badges and has been worn over 60,000 times a season in the squad numbers of EFL players since the 2014/15 season.