The Duke of Cambridge, President of the Football Association (FA), will visit Hendon FC on Friday 6th September to learn more the club's mental health outreach initiatives. The visit will form part of Heads Up, a new season-long campaign which will harness the power of football to encourage more people - particularly men - to feel comfortable talking about their mental health, and feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times. The visit also takes place the day before the club's participation in the Emirates FA Cup First Round Qualifying.
In 2017, Hendon FC launched an outreach programme in conjunction with the Brent Early Years Intervention Service to enable young people from the local community who live with mental health issues to attend training sessions at the club. Using football as a means to help improve their mental health and wellbeing, the group of young people formed the Hendon FC Mental Health team and now attend specially tailored training sessions at the club on a weekly basis. The Duke will join a number of players on the pitch and will hear more about how the project has helped them manage their mental health challenges. His Royal Highness will also speak to a number of the club's fans and supporters in the stands who have experienced mental health issues, to understand how football and the sense of community it provides can play an important role on their journeys to recovery.
The Duke will also spend time at Hendon with a number of the club's coaches, and will discuss their role in supporting players with their mental health. The visit coincides with the launch of The FA's new comprehensive guidance for coaches and managers, distributed to FA affiliated adult clubs. His Royal Highness will discuss the new guidelines with the Hendon FC coaches, and how it can support them in identifying the signs of mental health issues, and offer support and signposting where needed to help improve the mental wellbeing of players.
Launched at the Community Shield by The FA and Heads Together, Heads Up is a season-long campaign spearheaded by The Duke of Cambridge which will use the influence and popularity of football to show the nation that mental health is just as important as physical health. It will support the important work which is already taking place across the UK to end the stigma surrounding mental health, and will strive to raise awareness, spark conversation and signpost support for those in need. Heads Up will be visible across all levels of the game, from the elite to grassroots, and at the biggest moments of The FA's season including men's and women's England internationals and FA competitions. The campaign will conclude at the Emirates FA Cup Final on 23rd May 2020.