Hampshire FA and the association’s Official Charity Partners, Havant & East Hants Mind, are once again teaming up to host Q&A sessions on Hampshire FA’s Twitter channel, this December.
Understanding the impacts of the Covid pandemic on one’s own mental health, Hampshire FA saw an opportunity to formalise a relationship with the Havant & East Hants Mind charity and to offer its members and workforce additional support during such a time. Launched in October 2020, the partnership saw Havant & East Hants Mind become the official charity partner of the association.
The local Mind charity has since provided the county FA with a communications plan so that key messages around mental health are extensively promoted alongside football related content and activities, with new initiatives activated and joining forces for key dates in the year. One major success was the mental health football tournament that saw Hampshire FA and Havant & East Hants Mind unite to support for World Mental Health Day 2021. Footballers came together to partake in a one-off tournament and have in-depth conversations with charity personnel about their own personal experiences, delving deep into their experiences and openly sharing it with members. In an emotionally charged video, we hear from various members on their own personal circumstances and battles with mental health. Check out the full press release and watch the video here.
Together with Havant & East Hants Mind, Hampshire FA has also delivered a fortnightly social media Q&A session on the broad topic of ‘mental health within football and our clubs’ to help encourage followers and the football community to respond to various questions and increase interaction at such a time. The initiative launched in December 2020 with Hampshire FA hosting the sessions and responding to individual comments left by members. To try and further fit round individuals’ circumstances, the sessions have taken place in the evening between 8-9pm, in the hope to interact with members outside of work hours and to make it more accessible around daily commitments. A staff member from Havant & East Hants Mind was also online to respond to comments, signpost key information relating to individuals’ responses and to offer guidance wherever possible.
The fortnightly initiative hosted by Hampshire FA officially concluded on the 2nd February 2020 and will now restart on Thursday 2nd December 2021. We have targeted winter to combat the feeling of loneliness, which is heightened during such a period, together with feeling isolated and generally the impact on our members, their families, and friends at this time of year. Though we realise illnesses such as depression and seasonal affective disorder can affect people at different times and throughout the year; symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are more commonly reported during the winter months.
After conducting a recent poll on Hampshire FA’s Twitter channel, the preference was to move the Q&A session to a 7-8pm slot (previously an 8-9pm slot last year).
Rather than fortnightly, the Q&A session will be weekly throughout December concluding on Thursday 16th December.
The Q&A sessions have seen a small number of members interact with Hampshire FA and HEH Mind, some openly communicating their thoughts and feelings on the online platform, but what’s key to note is that the analytics of likes, comments and shares does not correlate with the number of views and insights. In a nutshell, whilst there may not be a large base of people actively participating in the Q&A sessions, the views and insights during the Q&A session have seen surges. One post last year gained over 11k impressions and was the highest performing ‘top tweet’ in the month. People are looking at the posts and following the content without actively engaging with it. For us therefore, we saw a need to continue the Q&A sessions as it was evident, that members are following what is being shared and said, that in turn may go a long way to supporting someone access the right help beyond the screen, if they do feel uncomfortable partaking in the session with us.
Thursday 2nd December 7-8pm - Topic: Your Wellbeing
Thursday 9th December 7-8pm - Topic: Men's mental health
Thursday 16th December 7-8pm - Topic: Support network
Additionally, Hampshire FA & Havant & East Hants Mind will be launching a new ‘Topic & Talk’ session at Front Lawn Community Hub for the community. The local community are invited to attend on the dates and times below to discuss the various topics. A structure for the sessions with further details will be announced in due course.
Weds 19th January 12-2pm – Topic: Seasonal Affective Disorder
Weds 16th February 12-2pm – Topic: Children’s Mental Health Week
Weds 16th March 12-2pm – Topic: Women in Sport