Devon FA are teaming up with Mental Health Muscle in a partnership to raise awareness of mental health through football and to create awareness, support and interactions whilst breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health.
Mental Health Muscle are a nationwide, not-for-profit organisation raising awareness of mental health issues using physical activity, exercise and sport as a driving vehicle for change, education and support.
Following the tragic loss of two young players over the past 12 months in Devon, this partnership will aim to educate and create opportunities for clubs, players, coaches, volunteers and everyone involved with the game.
While the conversation around mental health has grown significantly in recent years, mental ill health remains one of the biggest difficulties for many in society today. Death by suicide is prolific in men under the age of 45 and it's time this changed.
Millions of people watch and play football ever year, and many of us won’t go a day without talking about it. This fits in nicely with the FA’s new ‘Heads Up’ campaign – which encourages people to feel comfortable talking about their mental health, in the same way they would about football, and have better understanding to support their friends and families through difficult times.
Devon FA recognises that mental wellbeing is just as important as physical fitness. We hope that encouraging people to play the game, as well as emphasising the importance of mental health, particularly in football, can encourage more people to open up about the way they feel.
Mental Health Muscle have formed a football team who have recently started playing in friendly matches against local sides, every few months. Their first game was in the newly formed Deakin Cup, in memory of Kingsteignton Athletic player, Kyle Deakin, who passed away last year. Mental Health Muscle United took on Kingsteignton in their first ever game as a team at Coach Road in June, and came away victorious, winning 4-2 in front of a crowd of over 150 people. This event raised more than £1300 for Mental Health Muscle and local charity, Kingscare, which will help support people struggling with mental health issues in the local community.
Mental Health Muscle United have plans to roll out the movement to other teams in Devon, with local sides, Barton Athletic and Newton Abbot Spurs to further raise awareness for mental health in the local area.
Under the new partnership between Devon FA and Mental Health Muscle, there are plans for a number of projects to be launched in the coming months, in line with Devon FA’s new 3G facility opening.
You can read more about Mental Health Muscle, on their website: https://mentalhealthmuscle.org/