We are proud to be supporting the Kent FA and the Tommy Crush Foundation in teaming up to give over 1,500 youth teams access to a trained Mental Health Champion.
Tracey Hand, our league welfare officer, has become one of 58 volunteers across Kent to support and raise awareness of Mental Health, by becoming a Mental Health Champion. Tracey will be able to give guidance on the support available to those in need, and signpost them to trained professionals if required.
One in ten young people are experiencing a mental health issue at any one time and shockingly, suicide is the leading cause of death for those aged 5-19. In addition to this, in an average group of thirty 15-year-olds:
· Seven are likely to have been bullied
· Six may be self-harming
· One could have experienced the death of a parent
As the governing body of football in Kent, Kent FA recognise the power of the game to help understand, support and listen to young people. This includes those with poor mental health that are either unable or unwilling to seek support.
That’s why, with the support of the Tommy Crush Foundation (https://tommycrushfoundation.org.uk/) and working in partnership with the longest established digital mental health provider in the UK, Kooth, (https://www.kooth.com/) they’ll be training 58 volunteers to support young players.
Kent FA Mental Health Champions will be encouraged to run an event within their club or league to raise awareness of the support available and they’ll be able to signpost young people to professional care if they need it.
Luke Baker, Football Development Officer for Youth Football, said: “The importance of a project like this cannot be underestimated, particularly when young people are facing such enormous and unique challenges. We are extremely thankful to the 58 passionate individuals that have stepped forward to help deliver this programme to those that need it most.”
The Tommy Crush Foundation was set up in 2019 following the death of Tommy Crush, aged just 17. Tommy was a keen footballer and qualified referee who had suffered with mental health challenges before his death. This investment in the programme over the next two years is the first project the charity has chosen to support. Tommy’s mum, Lisa Crush, who is also a Trustee of the Foundation said: “I am delighted the Foundation will be supporting Kent FA to help identify and support those players with mental health challenges. Tommy loved his football and it was a huge part of his life. This scheme has the potential to ensure more people with practical knowledge can step in and signpost those most vulnerable when they need it, and ultimately help save lives. This is exactly what the Tommy Crush Foundation was established to do.”
Kooth will be providing professional support to the Mental Health Champion programme and have been the UK’s leading provider to the NHS in effective online mental health support for the last 15 years. They offer free, online counselling support for young people, discussion boards, magazines and mini-activities to monitor and improve mental health.
The Kent FA Mental Health Champion is currently in a pilot stage with plans to expand over the next two years.
The governing body of the game in Kent will also be launching a similar programme aimed at supporting adults with accessing mental health care. For further information regarding this, please contact Jack.Jacobs@KentFA.com.
If you want more information about the Kent FA Mental Health Champions for Youth Football please contact Luke.Baker@KentFA.com