FA Wales joins UK football family to reaffirm collective commitment to Mentally Healthy Football
About FAW
8 May 2022

FA Wales joins UK football family to reaffirm collective commitment to Mentally Healthy Football

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2022, the Football Association of Wales has joined UK football bodies and leagues to reaffirm the collective long-term commitment to lead and continue to promote positive change in football, and in society more widely.

The FAW first joined the wider UK football family in 2020 for the joint signing of the ‘Mentally Healthy Football’ Declaration, which was convened by The Royal Foundation, committing to make mental health and fitness a key priority for all levels of the game.

Since then, Covid-19 has undoubtedly had a significant long-term impact and placed even greater emphasis on mental health. In such challenging circumstances, the role and value of football in improving well-being and bringing people together was made clear. More than ever, it is essential to maintain a focus on making mental health and fitness a priority within football’s agenda.

To share examples of positive mental health work and the progress made to support those involved in the game the UK football family has collaborated on a Mentally Healthy Football Declaration Report. Updates from the FAW, the wider football family, in addition to a case study on the work of the Jack Lewis Foundation and Ammanford AFC is available to view here.

Together, the goal of the football family is to keep the conversation on mental health going, to build on work underway and enhance the positive impact in all parts of football, including supporting the development of ‘mentally healthy clubs’ at every level of the game.

HRH The Duke of Cambridge said: “The football community has collectively made significant strides forward since signing the declaration – whether that is the 10,000 people newly trained in mental health practices, or the needs of hundreds of players now better supported by wellbeing assessments.

“Lasting change takes time to realise, and I’m encouraged that football has come together again to reaffirm its continuing commitment to instilling a mentally healthy culture at all levels, across all four nations. Only by doing this can we ensure a safe, supportive environment for everyone who engages with the game, whether that be in the changing room, the terraces, or from home.”

While much good work is underway and progress has been made in many areas, it is recognised that there is much more that can be done - so all organisations remain firmly committed to helping make football a ‘mentally healthy’ environment now and in the future. It is acknowledged that by working together, that shared vision can be achieved more quickly.

Four key principles continue to underpin this work:





Building an understanding of mental health to enable people to spot the signs that they, a team-mate or colleague might be facing challenges and need particular help or support

Promoting an environment where people feel more comfortable speaking about their mental health, and where speaking out is seen as a sign of strength, rather than weakness.

Encouraging players and staff to look after and improve their own mental health, and providing them with the tools and support to do so.

Knowing where help is available and making it clear how people can access support both within and outside their organisation.

To deliver the above, as a collective, organisations will:

  •  Collaborate through a UK-wide Mentally Healthy Football Working Group

This group will continue to work together to drive progress towards the principles and focus areas highlighted and to enable the football family to share best practice.

  • Lead and prioritise mental health strategies across their respective organisations to help create a ‘mentally healthy’ culture across the whole game

This will include ongoing review and development of existing strategies and/or action plans.

  • Make awareness-raising, training, education and guidance widely available, including to all clubs

This includes sharing and widening access to existing/new training, education and guidance for staff, players, coaches, officials and managers. Mental health awareness will continue to be promoted as a focus area each year.

  • Embed mental health within existing policies and practices

This includes working with the Football Family to include mental health within existing policy frameworks across the UK.

  • Support clubs and organisations to grow a ‘mentally healthy’ culture through the provision of guidance and resources.

This will include providing guidance, resources and toolkits to support mental fitness for players, as well as staff wellbeing, with clear guidance on where to signpost those needing support.