Hampshire FA has entered into a two-year partnership with local Havant and East Hants Mind.
Havant and East Hants Mind are affiliated to the national Mind charity and work in collaboration with other local Minds across England and Wales, providing an array of mental health services, projects, training and campaigning.
Local Mind charities such as Havant and East Hants Mind are run by local people for their local communities and their range of services and support is diverse. This includes, but is not limited to, providing crisis helplines or centres, wellbeing and recovery services, physical health activities and advice for Carers. Over 396,000 people have been supported by local Minds across England and Wales this year alone.
Due to the ever-increasing national media exposure on the topic of mental health, charities such as Mind are fast gaining traction. With this national interest and local service provision, people are starting to reach out more and more, taking advantage of the many free services that are available.
Importantly, companies are increasingly recognising their duty to uphold and protect the welfare and wellbeing of their staff now more than ever. This can be seen with companies investing in workplace mental health strategies, with Mental Health First Aiders or Connect 5 champions to specifically recognise and deal with issues as they are known.
Hampshire FA’s partnership with Havant and East Hants Mind was recognised for that exact purpose. The county FA has reached out to form a partnership with the local Mind charity, providing extensive mental health and wellbeing support for all staff across each of the hub sites. The county FA already has trained in-house mental health first aiders but saw an opportunity to extend the work being done behind the scenes by collaborating with a known and respected charity provider. Additionally, the local Mind charity will be providing the county FA with a communications plan to implement along with supporting materials so that key messages around mental health are extensively promoted alongside football related news and activities across Hampshire FA’s social media and the website.
“We recognise our duty far extends beyond the likes of the field and the clubhouse. Many people use sport as an outlet. We also understand that sport plays a crucial role in relieving stress and anxiety, that it increases health benefits, physically, socially and psychologically. Linking with Havant and East Hants Mind is part of our overall commitment to mental health, starting first with our staff and then cascading down benefits to our football community through the consistent promotion of key messages and joint-organisation activities”. Neil Cassar, CEO of Hampshire FA
“We are thrilled at the partnership opportunity with Hampshire FA helping us to reach so many more sports clubs to raise awareness of mental health and available support, including our own services. In recent years we have expanded the range of services we offer and now provide support right across Hampshire in many areas. The partnership plus funding from Hampshire Council will help us raise skills amongst club communities so people feel more confident to talk about their own concerns and learn proactive steps we can all take to stay well or support others. We will also run campaigns to combat the stigma that still exists surrounding mental ill health. We have developed an excellent programme of Mental Health Ambassadors in sport launched in 2020 and currently work with Havant FC Walking Football Club and within rugby and cricket clubs.
We hope to expand this to hundreds of football clubs over time. Havant and East Hants Mind is also linked to national initiatives- working as charity partner at Portsmouth FC and national Mind over several seasons, as part of the well-publicised EFL On Your Side project.” Ross Borman, Business Development Manager of Havant and East Hants Mind