Derby County Community Trust representatives were invited by the EFL to take part in a ‘Heads Up’ event on Thursday.
The event launched the consecutive weekends of support of the campaign across the football leagues, ran by the ‘Heads Together’ charity and the Football Association, and spearheaded by the Duke of Cambridge.
The weekends will highlight the power of talking as a way to support one another and normalise what can often be thought of as a difficult subject, with activities taking place at fixtures across the men’s and women’s football calendar in order to #KickOffAConversation.
The Community Trust’s invite to the event was part of the ‘Get Set to Go’ programme that is delivered as part of a nationwide network funded by the EFL and Mind’s partnership. These sessions aim to provide physical activity for those with mental health problems.
The Duke of Cambridge shared the following message following the event: "We are here today to take a big step in shattering this silence. We are going to use one of the most powerful, unifying forces in our society – football – to start the biggest ever conversation on mental health."
One participant, Jason, shared his experiences of using sport as a mechanism to cope with his mental health and explained: “Football has always been a major part of my life from being very young and have always strived to be the best of my friends, which the Derby County Community Trust has helped me with massively.
“Because of my mental health issues, including borderline personality disorder, severe depression and paranoia, I struggle with meeting new people and socialising.
“However, playing with the Community Trust and being able to be myself while playing football has helped a great deal for me and the development of my team.
“I've been in the system for mental health for many, many years now and had my fair share of bad and tough times but because I've had the bad I know how to appreciate how good it is to actually feel good.
“I've been through struggles which many people may not have and being captain of my team, I need to be able to help, encourage and reassure the rest of my team when going a difficult time in their lives.”
The event itself provided the chance for footballing faces from across the country to back the campaign going into the first weekend of action on 8th and 9th February.
For more information on the Get Set to Go programme at Derby County Community Trust, please visit: derbycountycommunitytrust.com/get-set-go.