The Football Supporters Association has recently launched #TerraceTalk – a supporter-led mental health initiative.
#TerraceTalk will feature a series of events across 2021, which will include training for staff and volunteers, panel discussions and the publication of shared resources.
The aim of the campaign is to encourage open and honest conversations about mental health and encourage supporters who need help to seek out mental health support services. A central theme of #TerraceTalk is to also recognise the value that social aspects of the match-day routine provide to fans up and down the country.
“The pandemic, and lack of in-person football, has had a serious impact on our collective mental health,” said Deborah Dilworth, the FSA’s EFL network manager. “It feels like an important moment to establish and develop supporter-led work on a national level around mental health. #TerraceTalk will hopefully encourage fans to keep an eye out for each other and check in on a friend or fellow supporter you’d normally see at the match.”
Supported by the EFL and Mind’s ‘On Your Side’ partnership, #TerraceTalk aims to complement existing initiatives in football.
Supporter representatives from the FSA’s EFL Network have carried out most of the planning – aiming to raise awareness of critical mental health issues and deliver initiatives at club level. The FSA would like to thank those fan reps and volunteers that have helped us shape the national campaign so far.
Gemma Teale, from Brentford Independent Association of Supporters and LGBeeTs who has been working on the project’s sub-committee, said: “Mental health is important to us all, and especially at a time when so many of the ways we look after ourselves are not available to us, we need to talk and support one another. We can’t be on the terraces but we can make sure we still have our #TerraceTalk and keep those connections that are what makes being part of the football family great.”
Geoff Bielby from Hull City Supporters’ Trust (HCST) said: “Over the last four years HCST and our colleagues at other trusts have been working hard on mental health issues and trying to get people to seek help when they need it. Football, and the match-day routine, is a vital social release for so many and a year of behind-closed-door games has really taken its toll. We’re acutely aware of how damaging lock-down has been on our mental health – it’s so important that supporters come together in whatever way they can to fill that void.”