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#TerraceTalk: fan-led mental health activity continues

Since its launch in February, supporters have continued working and promoting the #TerraceTalk message – a fan-led initiative focusing on mental health.

#TerraceTalk will feature a series of events across 2021 which will include training for FSA 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 to encourage supporters who need them to seek out mental health support services. A central theme of #TerraceTalk is also to recognise the value that the social aspects of the matchday routine provide to fans up and down the country.

AFC Wimbledon

FSA affiliates the Dons Trust promoted the campaign shortly after launch and discussed supporter issues around mental health on the 9Yrs Podcast, recording a special edition around mental health and its relationship with football.

Jane Lonsdale, co-chair of the Dons Trust board and chair of its diversity & inclusion working group said: “Fans’ and members’ mental health is vitally important, and the Dons Trust fully supports the Football Supporters’ Association’s #TerraceTalk campaign.

“We encourage all our members and AFC Wimbledon fans to engage with the events that the FSA are running to help supporters to support each other.

“On a personal level, football and going to matches along with seeing everyone and all the emotions that go with the game are so important to me. I really miss seeing friends and family at games and that social environment.

“The various lockdowns – which have meant we haven’t been able to go to games or cheer the team on in our new stadium – will undoubtedly have taken a toll on fans’ and members’ mental health and we hope this initiative can help in some way.”

Middlesbrough

Long-running Boro fanzine Fly Me To The Moon supported the launch of the #TerraceTalk campaign on Teesside, with editor Robert Nichols attending the initiative’s opening event online.

Rob, who is an elected representative on the FSA’s EFL network, said: “I know many people have been struggling out there and this initiative by fans, for fans will hopefully help.

“Putting mental health on the agenda in fan groups around the country has to be a good start.

“Football fans like everyone else have suffered through isolation over the last 12 months – but this is a drive to recognise this and to help to do something about it.”

Rob wrote about the campaign work in his column in the Hartlepool Mail.

Panel discussion

One of the first major events of the #TerraceTalk campaign was an online panel event hosted by Anwar Uddin (FSA Fans for Diversity lead) and Chris Paouros (FSA National Council).

Anwar and Chris were joined by Hayley Jarvis, head of sport at MIND, Dulwich Hamlet player Danny Mills, actor and SEED Patron Gemma Oaten and former professional footballer Luke Chadwick. We’ve pulled together some highlights from the talk below.

Luke Chadwick: “I wouldn’t change anything on my journey despite challenging times

Danny Mills: “The advice I would give is – having a routine helps”

Terrace to Terrace Travel

Our EFL and Women’s game networks have been taking part in a virtual challenge recently, aiming to travel the distance between different grounds across the country – aiming to finish by the end of May. The challenge sees the groups virtually travelling around the stadiums in the respective leagues.

The idea behind this challenge was to encourage people to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and particularly to think about stadiums whilst we are not able to go.

Both groups are doing really well, the EFL have just gone past the Abbey Stadium (Cambridge) and the women’s game past the The Nest (Norwich).

Look out for posts of daily walks, runs and cycling by following #FSATerrace2TerraceTravel #TerraceTalk on social media.

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