Mental Health Matters

Grassroots Football and Mental Health

One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any year. Over 10% of the population have depression at any one time. There are millions of people involved in grassroots football, right now, with mental health problems. The examples of Robert Enke, Frank Bruno and Marcus Trescothick show that mental health is relevant to everyone in sport, even at the elite level.

Mainstream clubs should be comfortable including people with mental health problems, in training, matches and socially. We want to make coaches and teammates confident and comfortable about talking about mental health problems, in the same way that people discuss physical injuries.

Sport can help in people’s recovery, help to manage symptoms and can radically improve the quality of people’s lives. Whether it’s in mainstream, community football clubs, or in specialised sport and mental health projects, football can deliver massive benefits. There are three key ways that football can help:

  • Delivering social inclusion
  • Helping physical health
  • Improving people’s mental health

For some people, physical activity can be as powerful as medicine or therapy. In 2010 the Mental Health Foundation said that for people with depression, “Comparative studies have shown that exercise can be as effective as medication or psychotherapy”. Exercise releases natural chemicals like adrenaline and serotonin. It also helps to release muscle tension, raises the body temperature and causes tiredness. These all help relieve stress and provide relaxation – this is of particular benefit for people with mental health problems.

Please see below different resources and organisations that promote mental health, especially within Norfolk and grassroots football.

Mental Health - Heads Up

Guidance for Coaches and Managers

The FA Mental Health Guide on Mental Health for Coaches and Managers
Group of Referees

Guidance notes for Referees

The FA Mental Health Guidance notes for Referees

Every Mind Matters

Get advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and welbeing
Callum Parke - Belper vs Worksop

Norfolk's Referee Mental Health Champion

Mental Health Champion scheme for grassroots referees in Norfolk
Wellbeing Guide for Parents

Teen Mental Health – A Guide for Parents

Today one in five teens has a diagnosable mental health condition.