The Toolstation Western League are working with Bath Mind to pilot a mental health partnership supporting the football family and players in particular. The six Western League sides located in Bath and North East Somerset have been offered specially created posters, promoting mental health support services designed to help younger people, which can be located into their home and away changing rooms.
Research conducted by the Toolstation Western League earlier this season highlighted that around a quarter of players had considered seeking help with a mental health issue. The subject of mental health was first tackled by the Western League in March 2020, when they launched their Think of a Fan campaign.
Chairman of the Western League, John Pool, explained: “Think of a Fan was our way of remembering that for many fans, football is more than just a game. It’s an important release, a chance to meet friends, get out of the house and have some fun.
Many people are still working through the loneliness and anxiety caused by lockdown, but we must not forget that our players are no different. They are as important to us as any members of our football family and this important partnership with Bath Mind is our way of supporting them.”
As well as changing room posters, Bath Mind have provided leaflets for fans, as well as programme adverts, highlighting the variety of support services they provide. If successful, this initial pilot will be extended by the Western League to cover all 40 Clubs across the South West of England, from Cornwall to Wiltshire.
Hannah Roper, Director of Business Development at Bath Mind, said: “We at Bath Mind are thrilled to be working in partnership with The Toolstation Western League, to support and promote positive mental health for the football community. Throughout the pandemic Bath Mind has been fighting an epidemic of mental ill-health. We have increased our services to meet the growing needs of our community, and help reduce pressure on NHS services. Through this pilot we hope to encourage everyone to talk about their mental health, seek help at an early stage and reduce the stigma associated with mental ill-health. As a local, independent charity, Bath Mind relies heavily on local fundraising to keep our services going, therefore we are grateful to The Toolstation Western League and their fans for their fundraising efforts.”