It is estimated that 1 in 4 individuals in the UK will be affected by Mental Health problems in the UK each year, with a large proportion of us feeling uncomfortable discussing this or reaching out for help.
However, the Kent FA recognises that football provides a vehicle for change and as an organisation, we are committed to supporting clubs to foster cultures where players, volunteers, coaches, managers, and club officials are encouraged to look after their mental health just as they look after their physical health, promote good mental health, eradicate the barriers to seeking support, and ensure the grassroots football community knows where they can go to seek support and signpost others into professional bodies.
Adult Football & Mental Health:
CALM Kickabouts are sessions designed to support those who want to play football to improve their well-being, meet new people, and reconnect with the sport. The benefit of the sessions includes bringing people back into the game, including people who have often stopped playing or need more confidence to play in structured grassroots competition pathways. The benefit to these people has been seen first-hand this season. Attendees have built positive relationships and enjoyed routine football sessions and fitness-based benefits.
Adult Mental Health Champions
Adult Mental Health Champions are individuals (usually club officials, coaches, or players) who operate in the adult game to actively signpost where individuals can find mental health support and promote the benefits of practicing good mental health. Each Adult Mental Health Champion has undertaken a Mental Health England Mental Health First Aid Qualification. Adult Mental Health Champions are usually connected to a specific adult club or league to champion the cause and receive access to CPD across each season to support them within their roles.
Youth Football & Mental Health
Mental Health Champions
Mental Health Champions in the youth game in Kent launched in late 2020 and has so far seen over 70 individuals undertake a Mental Health England half-day Youth Mental Health First Aid qualification and Kooth introductory workshop to support youth footballers in the county. The initial programme was funded by the Tommy Crush Foundation and Kent FA each season ensures an additional cohort of individuals can access the training to become a Champion for their club or league. The Champions are encouraged to promote positive mental health within their clubs/leagues and raise awareness of where individuals can go to access and seek support. Champions have access to several meetings each season to network, collaborate, and share best practice with other Champions, and the Kent FA also works with its partners to provide bespoke CPD opportunities for the Champions based on their feedback to supplement their initial training.
Kent FA Mental Health Partners
The Kent FA is proud to partner and work with several organisations to not only raise awareness around mental health but also to promote positive mental health in football and offer support to the Kent football community. Details of each organisation can be found below:
Kooth is the largest mental health platform for young people in the UK. Kooth recognises that young people need a safe and welcoming space to explore their mental health needs and has for many years, been the leading provider to the NHS in effective online support for young people. Kooth believes everyone in the world should have access to well-designed and accessible digital mental health support and treatment regardless of who they are. You can find out more about Kooth and how to access their services here:
125 people a week die by suicide, and CALM exists to change that. CALM stands for the Campaign Against Living Miserably and CALM has been shouting about suicide prevention since 1997, when their life-saving helpline launched. Originally set up as an NHS pilot, CALM became a national charity in 2006, meaning they could support people who needed us across the country. CALM reaches people through accessible and alternate means such as communicating through cultural channels like sport, and this non-clinical approach lowers the barrier to what is traditionally regarded as a difficult subject to engage in. You can find out more about CALM here:
The Tommy Crush Foundation was set up in memory of Tommy Crush. The foundation aims to help as many teenagers and young adults as possible who may feel vulnerable to suicide through poor mental health. The foundation raises funds and awareness to try and change the outcome for another young person who may be suffering in silence and to stop another family from losing a son or daughter, brother or sister. Find out more about the Tommy Crush Foundation and how they work with us here:
The Vault is from the Football Mental Health Reliance and is a comprehensive initiative designed to support players, spectators, communities, coaches, match officials, and volunteers within grassroots football with their mental health. The Vault works with the County to empower all those involved in the grassroots game to learn about mental health and develop stronger coping mechanisms. The Vault provides several resources and access to things like webinars to provide clubs and individuals involved in grassroots football with the necessary tools to support the mental health of those involved in the game. You can find out more about the Vault here: