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Heads Up: Let’s kick off the chat about feeling OK…

‘Talking about your mental health’ can seem like a big phrase to deal with, can’t it? Where to start? Who to talk to?

Football is coming together over two weekends in February to kick off the biggest ever conversation around mental health through football, in support of the Heads Up campaign.

The Heads Up Weekends don’t have to be about having a really deep and meaningful conversation (though it can be if you want) – they can be about having a chat with your mate about how you’re both feeling or doing things that make you feel less stressed or anxious. At CALM we’ve got loads of tactics to help. 

ALAN helps. There are loads of famous footballing Alans. Shearer. Ball. Smith. But our ALAN is here to give you four simple steps to help a mate:


Ask open questions like, “how are you feeling?” to start a conversation. Show concern but don’t judge.


Let them speak. You don’t need to solve problems, they may just need to get stuff off their chest.


Help them make a plan of action and set some simple goals. Let them know what help is out there. Arrange your next meet up.


Build a network of support together, with other friends and family. Being there for your mates when things get tough – whether you’re playing or supporting, winning or losing – creates strong bonds that can genuinely save lives. 

Remember – you can deal with your mental health in your own time. Take a minute. Take 90 minutes. Take extra time if you need to. Do what you need to do to feel OK.

And if things get tough and you or your friend are in need of immediate help, our helpline and webchat are open 5pm to midnight every day of the year. Our helpline is for people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. Give us a call for free on 0800 58 58 58.

Want CALM on your side? Join our CALM Football Collective 

We’re big believers that football has a massive role to play in the way we deal with issues including mental health and suicide. The CALM Football Collective brings together people who love the beautiful game, both playing it and watching it. It’s about positivity, generosity and reinforcement on and off the pitch. It’s for the fans. It’s for the players. It’s for football communities across the UK. 

We’ll share inspiring football stories, we’ll give you chances to get involved in events, we’ll give you a platform to interact with other football fans and, if you play for a team, we’ll give you CALM Football Collective kit badges so you can make your team a CALM club.

Sign up here.

Get support

Need support? Worried about someone? CALM’s free, anonymous and confidential helpline and webchat are open every day, 5pm-midnight. Get access here. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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