Current and former professional footballers have given a unique insight into a player’s preparation for a crucial England match to help promote World Mental Health Day.
In a video by the Football Association, viewers are placed in the footsteps of an England men’s footballer as he prepares for an important match at Wembley Stadium.
Featuring manager Gareth Southgate and footballers from Chelsea, Spurs and West Ham, it shows the importance of getting support from teammates and having honest and open conversations about mental health.
It calls for fans to forget handshakes, given the coronavirus pandemic, and focus on doing more than just exchanging pleasantries with loved ones.
Viewers are implored to “be there for your mates – even when you can’t be with them”.
The video includes international players Declan Rice, Fikayo Tomori, Harry WinksandTyrone Mings. It was created in partnership with former professionals Marvin Sordell, William Miller and Harry Campbell.
It follows the Heads Up campaign, a collaboration between the Heads Together mental health initiative and the FA, which aims to use the popularity of football to encourage men to discuss mental health and support loved ones.
Run by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, it tries tackle stigma around the topic and run innovative services to help.
Former Watford, Bolton and Burnley forward Sordell, who co-founded ONEIGHTY Productions, which worked on the video, said: “I’ve had the honour of being a supporter of the Heads Up campaign in a variety of ways since its inception and now I’m delighted to be involved creatively in this project for World Mental Health Day.
“As someone that has previously battled with mental health problems, I’m now a massive advocate for spreading awareness around the importance of conversation and sharing the problems we may encounter or face.
“We hope that with this video, it speaks to a different type of audience that would usually have this discussion, and in an even more relatable way.”
The World Health Organization describes Mental Health Day, held on October 10, as coming at a time when “our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Its goal this year is for increased investment in mental health.
Jim Lucas, the FA’s managing editor, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Marvin and ONEIGHTY Productions on this project.
“Marvin and his team’s experiences and understanding of mental health and football was invaluable in shaping the content.
“In these difficult times, hopefully it serves as a reminder for people to look out for their friends and family and the importance of a genuine conversation about someone’s mental wellbeing.”