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#TerraceTalk: fan-led campaign mental health campaign launched

Following on from months of work with fan reps across the EFL, the FSA is pleased to launch #TerraceTalk – a supporter-led mental health initiative.

#TerraceTalk will feature a series of events across 2021 which will include training for staff and volunteers, panel discussions and the publication of shared resources.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage open and honest conversations about mental health and encourage supporters who need them to seek out mental health support services. A central theme of #TerraceTalk is to also recognise the value that social aspects of the matchday routine provide to fans up and down the country.

As we reported back in December, fan groups across the country have already begun discussing mental health issues, as well as raising awareness of the services and support available.

“The pandemic, and lack of in-person football, has had a serious impact on our collective mental health,” said Deborah Dilworth, the FSA’s EFL network manager.

“It feels like an important moment to establish and develop supporter-led work on a national level around mental health.

“#TerraceTalk will hopefully encourage fans to keep an eye out for each other and check in on a friend or fellow supporter you’d normally see at the match.”

Supported by the EFL and Mind’s ‘On Your Side’ partnership, #TerraceTalk aims to complement existing initiatives in football.

Much of the planning and preparation for the launch of this campaign has been carried out by supporter representatives from the FSA’s EFL Network – aiming to raise awareness of critical mental health issues and deliver initiatives at club level. The FSA would like to thank those fan reps and volunteers that have helped us shape the national campaign so far.

Gemma Teale, from Brentford Independent Association of Supporters and LGBeeTs who has been working on the project’s sub-committee, said: “Mental health is important to us all, and especially at a time when so many of the ways we look after ourselves are not available to us, we need to talk and support one another.

“We can’t be on the terraces but we can make sure we still have our #TerraceTalk and keep those connections that are what makes being part of the football family great.”

Online resources and a social media toolkit are also available for supporter organisations to download and use on their channels to spread the message – and point their own members and other fans to support that is available.

Geoff Bielby from Hull City Supporters’ Trust (HCST) said: “Over the last four years HCST and our colleagues at other trusts have been working hard on mental health issues and trying to get people to seek help when they need it.

“Football, and the matchday routine, is a vital social release for so many and a year of behind-closed-door games has really taken its toll. We’re acutely aware of how damaging lockdown has been on our mental health – it’s so important that supporters come together in whatever way they can to fill that void.”

If you would like to know more about #TerraceTalk or your supporter organisation would like to get involved with the campaign, contact Deborah Dilworth.

#TerraceTalk

Useful links

Contact Mind for dealing with mental health matters during lockdown. Mind also have a partnership with the EFL and run a joint Have Your Mate’s Back campaign. Other useful resources…

For medical advice call the NHS on 111.

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