FA Cup Third Round Fixtures Delayed To Promote Better Mental Health Among Football Fans

In a historic first, all 32 FA Cup matches will be delayed by one minute in a campaign supported by the Duke of Cambridge.

In a historic first, all 32 Emirates FA Cup Third Round fixtures will be delayed by one minute this weekend to promote better mental health among football fans.

A video narrated by the Duke of Cambridge will be shown during the minute delay, encouraging fans to ‘Take A Minute’ to look after their mental health and that of their family and friends.

Prince William’s voice can be heard in the clip, while famous faces appear on screen including Frank Lampard, Harry Maguire and Alex Scott.

The aim is to raise awareness of the simple actions people – particularly men – can take to look after their mental health. It comes after research found just under half of men (45%) who experienced early signs of mental health concerns in the last year have never taken self-care actions to manage it, compared to 31% of women.

Frank Lampard stars in the new film promoting better mental health among football fans.
Freuds / Public Health England
Frank Lampard stars in the new film promoting better mental health among football fans.

The film is the result of a collaboration between Public Health England’s (PHE) ‘Every Mind Matters’ mental health platform, and Heads Up, a season-long partnership between Heads Together and The FA. It will play across stadiums, online and broadcasters – with the aim of reaching millions of football fans across England.

While the collaboration is aimed at everyone – players, supporters, friends and families – it’s widely known that football can be a powerful way to reach men in particular. There are more than 15 million football fans in England, 69% of whom are men.

Discussing the new film, Frank Lampard, manager of Chelsea FC, said: “I came from a family where we bottled up a lot of emotions, feelings and sometimes anxieties.

“I think a huge thing now is the great campaigns that are going on encouraging people to speak openly about looking after your mental health and not feel bad about how you feel inside.

“I think as men, sometimes we can think that it’s a weakness but it certainly isn’t. It’s a huge strength. It’s hugely important for men to think about their mental health and take action where they can.”

“I came from a family where we bottled up a lot of emotions, feelings and sometimes anxieties.”

- Frank Lampard

Fans are being encouraged to complete a ‘Mind Plan’ – a free tool from Every Mind Matters. Clinically assured by the NHS, the tool asks a series of questions, then recommends a range of evidence-based self-care actions for each individual, designed to deal with stress, boost mood, improve sleep and help people feel more in control.

The aim is to prevent common mental health concerns from escalating into more serious, clinical conditions.

Tottenham Hotspur player, Dele Alli, said he felt it was “very important” to be a part of the campaign. “A lot of people like to try and deal with their problems by themselves and can feel like they sometimes haven’t got people they can talk to, or that there’s nothing they can do about it,” he said.

“There are so many people struggling with their mental health, so I want to help people understand that they don’t have to deal with it alone. There are a lot of people out there that can help and there are steps you can take to make sure your mental wellbeing is the best it can be.”

Prince William, who is also president of The FA, said over the course of the next five months, Heads Up will aim to spread the message that we all have mental health, just as we all have physical health.

“Our ambition is to start the largest ever conversation on mental health and to ensure there is a lasting mental health legacy for the game in this country,” he said. “I hope Heads Up can help us all take another big step forward in shattering the stigma that surrounds mental health.”

For more information on Heads Up, visit the website.

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@themix.org.uk
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.