Win, Lose, or Draw.. It’s a Chance to Talk About How You Feel

It’s the night before a nail-biting Euro quarter-finals. And the nation is on edge… literally. Mental health statistics amongst men following an England loss aren’t great reading, with reports of increased depression and anxiety. But grassroots clubs, public health organisations and brands are trying to turn the ‘opportunity’ of sport, and football particularly, into a life saver. Where do men often talk to other men? At the football. In fact, football fans dedicate 8x more time to the football than romantic relationships and other friendships.

Statistics show that 44% of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health; 1 in 3 saying they feel “too embarrassed“, reflected by the fact Google searches for ‘anxiety symptoms in men’ increased 13-fold.

The Euros: An Opportunity to Take Action

While more men are spending time together, the important question must be raised; what are men really talking about when sat side-by-side watching the game? The Euros presents an opportunity to highlight men’s mental health and encourage open conversations on wellbeing.

Connecting with Fans

Late last year Norwich City FC partnered with Samaritans with their video “You are not alone” for World Mental Health Day. With over 55 million views, the video raised the important message about suicide prevention and checking on the people around you. Football clubs have the opportunity to connect with a broad and diverse audience of men and boys, as well as their partners and daughters.

For Pub and Country…

The Heads-Up Campaign by Heads Together, led by The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales, exemplifies how pubs can promote mental health discussions. Using football to drive mental health awareness, the campaign partnered with pubs, football clubs and the FA Cup to encourage fans to talk about mental health. Pubs across the country hosted viewing parties and discussion groups focused on mental health awareness. This led to the signing of the Mentally Healthy Football Declaration, by 13 major bodies, set to support 1.9 million people, showcasing football’s commitment to mental health and fitness as key priorities to the game.

Making it Right Across Europe

UEFA’s ‘FootbALL’ campaign is another example of driving positive social change across European communities, creating an inclusive and equal environment in European football. The Outraged educational programme offers educational toolkits and video content to highlight the discrimination that exists in football. The 2020 documentary looked at big-name footballers’ stories related to homophobia, sexism and racism and their thoughts on the best way to help end these issues, serving as a catalyst for positive change in the industry.  

Mental Health – A Private Digital Perspective

With some young men less than willing to talk face to face about how they feel, puts digital solutions at the advantage. Sometimes it’s easier to share how you feel in an environment that you already feel comfortable – online and digital.

Quite unbelievably, 1 in 3 men sees a doctor less frequently than once a year. The NHS has adopted digital mental health applications such as SilverCloud by Amwell, as a way of supporting men at scale and in a convenient format that negates the challenges of actually seeing a GP. These applications offer accessible, private, and effective mental health support.

Why Does This Matter?

Whilst the Euros might be a time of joy for a few, anxiety for most, and disappointment for many, they are an opportunity for men to gather, talk and learn more about their own health and the health of others close to them.

At EatMoreFruit, we know the importance of developing creative content and campaigns that push impactful messaging. If you are looking to run a campaign that reaches ahead of Movember or Men’s Health Week, get in touch and together we can make a healthy difference.

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