One of the many lessons learned from the pandemic and our collective experience of lockdowns was a greater appreciation of the value that the matchday and our social interactions around it can have on our mental health.
Having had those taken away from us as games moved behind closed doors, in 2021 the FSA launched #TerraceTalk, a supporter-led mental health initiative, which included a series of events from panel discussions to training for FSA staff and volunteers, and the sharing of resources with supporter groups.
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 remember and recognise the value that the social aspects of the matchday routine provide to fans up and down the country.
“The pandemic, and lack of in-person attendance at football, had a serious impact on our collective mental health,” said Deborah Dilworth, the FSA’s women’s football lead.
“It felt 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 the game.
Much of the planning and preparation for the launch of this campaign was 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.
Online resources and a social media toolkit are 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.
- Download: #TerraceTalk social media assets. If you would like a bespoke #TerraceTalk image including your group’s logo contact us.
- Find out more: fan groups highlight mental health support work
- Age UK – call 0800 678 1602 8am-7pm
- Alcoholics Anonymous or call 0800 9177 650
- Andy’s Man Club
- CALMzone – call 0800 585858
- Childline or call 0800 1111
- Mental Health First Aid (England)
- Mental Health First Aid (Wales)
- Mental Health Matters
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline – call 0808 2000 247
- National Gambling Helpline or call 0808 8020 133
- OK Rehab or call 0800 326 5559
- rehab4addiction or call 0800 140 4690
- Samaritans – 116 123 call any time for free
- SHOUT 85258 – a text-only 24 hour confidential mental health support service – text 85258
- SEED – specialise in supporting those with eating disorders & associated mental health issues – call 01482 718130 or email.
For medical advice call the NHS on 111.