All 32 of the Emirates FA Cup third round ties this weekend will kick off one minute later than their traditionally scheduled timeslots – for example 3.01pm and 7.46pm – as part of a campaign to promote mental health and wellbeing.
The Football Association (FA) announced the initiative on 11th December, encouraging fans to ‘Take A Minute’ to consider looking after their mental health. The move is in partnership with the Heads Up campaign and the Public Health England’s ‘Every Mind Matters’.
The initiative represents the first step we can take to look after our mental health. During the minute delay, fans are encouraged to consider the positive impact 60 seconds can have on their own wellbeing or in supporting a friend or family member.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham stated that the initiative:
…provides a powerful platform for us and our Heads Up charity partners to deliver a really important message on mental health. We know men in particular can be reluctant to talk about the subject, so it is important we use football as a vehicle to stress the importance of mental fitness.
The Heads Up campaign exploits the popularity of football to encourage more people to feel comfortable taking action to improve their mental health and identify mental health as being equally significant as physical health.
Godric Smith, chair of the Heads Up campaign, added:
It is fitting that the first big Heads Up campaign moment should be linked to the Emirates FA Cup third round – a signature moment in any football season. The FA Cup is a competition for everyone – for clubs big and small – and we want to use its power to help show that we all have mental health and that we can all take a minute to focus on how we can start to improve it.
Fans can search ‘Every Mind Matters’ and use the ‘Your Mind Plan’ tool to create a personal mental health action plan, providing them with a tailored set of simple self-care actions. It will also share helpful tips and advice on how they can approach managing their mental health.
The Saints will be hoping to continue their run of form in their 3rd round tie at home to Huddersfield Town, who are currently 20th in the Championship.