NPL shows support for 'Mentally Healthy Football'

By James Gordon

NPL joins football family in signing mentally healthy football declaration.

The Northern Premier League has welcomed a joint Declaration from the UK football family signifying its support for building a mentally healthy environment at every level of the game, as a lasting legacy of the Heads Up campaign.

The NPL has long championed mental health awareness through our partnership with Andy’s Man Club, and will be supporting the season-long Heads Up campaign.

The Mentally Healthy Football Declaration will see all of UK football recognising that mental health is as important as physical health, and pioneering a ‘team approach’ on this important issue. The UK football family will build on the important work that clubs and football organisations are already doing, working together to roll out these efforts across the football system, share best practice, and support the development of ‘mentally healthy clubs’ at every level of the game.

The landmark Declaration has been signed by senior figures from across the football system, including the FA, the Premier League, the English Football League (EFL), Scottish FA, Wales FA, Irish FA, League Managers Association (LMA), Professional Footballers Association (PFA), Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) and League Football Education (LFE).

Following an unprecedented season for football, mental health issues are more relevant than ever. Through the Declaration, football has committed to working together to embed an environment across all of UK football:

• Where players and staff are encouraged to look after their mental health just as they look after their physical health;
• where they feel able to spot the signs that they, a team-mate or colleague might be struggling and know where to access support;
• and where speaking out about mental health is seen as a sign of strength rather than weakness.

The Declaration will see us form a UK-wide mental health implementation group next season, working towards a collective ‘game plan’ for the first time to ensure the mental health of players, staff, managers, coaches and officials is prioritised across the game.

NPL chairman Mark Harris said: “We are committed to raising awareness of mental health and supporting the people and communities associated with our clubs and beyond. Football provides a great platform to sign-post and support the progress made, encouraging people to look after their mental health and take care of those around them. This is a fantastic initiative that brings together the whole of football, and follows on from our links with the excellent Andy’s Man Club."

Andrew Ridgeway, from Andy’s Man Club, added: “As the league's partner we welcome this declaration. Anything that normalises conversations around mental health and challenges stigmas is more than welcome, As we have always said, #ITSOKAYTOTALK and hopefully as a result of these things happening, within such a high profile sport as football, it will encourage more of these conversations to take place.”

The Declaration has also been welcomed by Heads Up’s charity partners Mind, CALM and Sporting Chance, who will work with us all next season to take the Declaration forward.

You can find out more about the Heads Up campaign by visiting

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