Saturday’s match will be known as the Heads Up FA Cup final as the showpiece fixture partners with the mental health campaign to raise awareness.
Heads Up is a partnership between the Football Association and the charity Heads Together, and led by HRH the Duke of Cambridge, which has harnessed the influence of football to encourage people to discuss mental health openly since its launch at last year’s Community Shield.
The issue of mental health has never been more important than it is now, with people around the world spending months isolated at home due to the social distancing rules needed to fight the spread of coronavirus.
To mark the culmination of a season-long campaign by Heads Up in football, title sponsor Emirates has relinquished their rights to allow the game to be renamed the Heads Up FA Cup final, underlining the importance of the issue.
Heads Up will focus on the theme of #SoundOfSupport around the final, highlighting the importance of supporting each other, both in football and life. While Wembley Stadium itself will be empty on Cup final day due to the ongoing lockdown, fans are asked to fill the silence with the sound of their support for those who need it, making the conversation around mental health louder than ever.
Also, at Wembley on matchday, the Heads Up and #SoundOfSupport branding will be visible around the stadium and on TV broadcasts, and real conversations about mental health will be used to create artificial crowd noise before kick-off.
Chelsea have proudly supported the Heads Up campaign throughout this season, including Frank Lampard joining Prince William to surprise football fans in a pub in Battersea to watch England’s match against the Czech Republic, discuss mental health and meet people who had been helped by Heads Up partners Mind and CALM.
Speaking at the time, Lampard said: ‘Suicide is still the biggest killer of men under 45 so getting everyone talking – whatever they’re going through – has never been more important. No one should be suffering in silence.’
Lampard, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Joe Cole also featured in a short film encouraging football fans to take a minute to think about their own mental health as kick-off for every FA Cup third-round tie was delayed by 60 seconds to support Heads Up in January.
League games around the country, including our home game against Manchester United, were dedicated to Heads Up in February, after Fran Kirby had helped launch the Heads Up Weekends by taking part in a table football tournament alongside Prince William and professionals from several over clubs.
Heads Up works with charity partners Mind, CALM, Shout and Sporting Chance to make sure every fan can find the support they need and help others do the same. You can find out more about Heads Up here and for 24/7 support text ‘HeadsUp’ to 85258 to connect with a trained crisis volunteer.