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Palace Women help football unite to kick-off biggest ever mental health conversation

6 February 2020

Crystal Palace Women is uniting with football clubs across the country to kick-off the biggest ever conversation on mental health.

For two weekends in February, every women's team from across the country's footballing pyramid will dedicate their matches to Heads Up, a partnership between The FA and Heads Together.

Spearheaded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Heads Up aims to harness the influence and popularity of football to normalise the conversation around mental health.

The Heads Up Weekends will highlight the power of talking as a way to support one another and dispel the stigma surrounding mental health, with activity planned at fixtures across the men and women’s football calendar.

On Sunday 9th February against London Bees, Crystal Palace Women will join clubs across the nation to display the Heads Up emblem across stadiums, programmes and kit, in a major unifying moment that aims to get the nation talking about mental health.

As part of the Heads Up Weekend, Crystal Palace Women will also be encouraging their players to discuss the importance of talking about mental health and speaking to fans who have suffered with their own concerns.

The simple power of conversation - talking and listening – can be the first step to better mental health, and to making it okay to say we’re not okay. 

Crystal Palace Women's General Manager, Paula Johnson, commented: "Our players were very keen to show their support for the Heads Up Campaign. Having joined the Walk for Mental Health last year with a number of our fans, we positively encourage everyone to talk about any issues they may be having.

"We have recently taken up the services offered to the club by Sports Chaplaincy UK. We have a chaplain come in every training session and she is available should anyone from the club wish to sit and just have a chat."

Palace midfielder Ashleigh Goddard said: "Playing football can be a very emotional game as well as physical. Having our chaplain come in every week is a really positive move by the club. Having known people who have suffered with their mental health I see the Heads Up Campaign as a really important message and we should encourage everyone to stop and talk."

Kelly Simmons, The FA’s Director of the Women’s Professional Game, said: "It’s significant that clubs across the men and women’s football pyramid are uniting together around such an important societal issue.

"Over recent years the women’s game has been home to inspirational role models who have spoken with courage about their mental wellbeing and now because of the Heads Up campaign and the excellent work conducted by the leagues and clubs, we hope these individuals are no longer the lone voices but part of a societal change for us all to speak more openly about mental health."

Whether you or someone you know is struggling, or if you want to help dispel the stigma surrounding mental health, kick-off a conversation this weekend.

Join the conversation using #KickOffAConversation and #HeadsUp across social media.

To find out more and get tips from Heads Up’s charity partners (Mind, CALM, Sporting Chance and Heads Together) visit www.headstogether.org.uk/heads-up.

Those wanting immediate support can also text 'HeadsUp' to 85258 to connect with a trained crisis volunteer – a service run by Shout and powered by Crisis Text Line, which is available 24/7 and free to text from most mobile networks.


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