You might have noticed that this Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie against Blackpool kicks off at a rather unusual time: at 3.01pm.
That’s because, across the country, all 32 FA Cup ties this weekend will kick off a minute later than usual to encourage fans to ‘Take A Minute’ to think about looking after their mental health, as part of the Heads Up campaign.
It is hoped that the initiative will raise awareness of the importance of looking after our mental health, with 60 seconds representing just the first step in the journey to improved wellbeing. During the minute delay, fans will be encouraged to consider the positive impact 60 seconds can have on their own wellbeing or in supporting a friend or family member.
Heads Up is partnering with Public Health England’s ‘Every Mind Matters’ across the Emirates FA Cup third round to draw attention to the simple steps we can all take to look after our mental health and wellbeing.
Spearheaded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, the Heads Up campaign harnesses the influence and popularity of football to encourage more people – particularly men – to feel comfortable talking about, and taking action to improve, their mental health and to recognise that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “Whilst delaying kick-off times by 60 seconds is a simple idea, it provides a powerful platform for us and our Heads Up charity partners to deliver a really important message on mental health.
“We know that men in particular can be reluctant to talk about the subject, so it is important that we use football as a vehicle to stress the importance of mental fitness.”
Fans can search ‘Every Mind Matters’ to create their own personal mental health action plan.
Those in need of immediate support can text ‘HeadsUp’ to 85258 to be connected to a trained crisis counsellor. This service is available 24/7, and free to text from most mobile networks.