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Emirates FA Cup third round to highlight mental health

City's Emirates FA Cup third round fixture will kick-off at 12.31pm to encourage fans to ‘Take A Minute’ to think about looking after their mental health, as part of the Heads Up campaign.

The move will see all 32 ties [excluding replays] kick-off one minute later than their traditionally scheduled broadcast and non-broadcast timeslots, for example 3.01pm, 12.16pm and 7.46pm. 

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. The partnership will signpost to the free, online Every Mind Matters resources and ‘Your Mind Plan’ tool, which fans can use to create a personal mental health action plan, providing them with a tailored set of simple self-care actions. In conjunction with Heads Up charity partners Mind, CALM, Heads Together and Sporting Chance, fans will also be provided helpful tips and advice on how they can approach managing their mental health.

Messaging will be visible across the weekend of fixtures, both in the stadia and for the millions watching from home.

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.

Mark Bullingham, The FA’s Chief Executive 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.”

Godric Smith, Chair of the Heads Up campaign said: “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 Emirates 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. We are very grateful for all the support from right across the football family, from our mental health charities - and to Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters for their fantastic partnership.”

For more information on the Heads Up campaign visit – TheFA.com/HeadsUp and headstogether.org.uk/heads-up. Fans can also 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.

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