Chelsea men’s and women’s head coaches Frank Lampard and Emma Hayes have joined club partner Three to encourage supporters to combat isolation and mental health issues this Christmas.
This festive season is set to be particularly difficult for many people, with large family gatherings prevented by the Covid-19 pandemic, and Three has launched a new initiative alongside Chelsea titled Support Someone Else.
It aims to help shine a light on the feelings of loneliness and isolation, as well as other mental health issues, that can impact men and women, young and old.
According to a recent report from the Office for National Statistics, the impact of loneliness across all genders and ages reached record levels as we entered the winter months of lockdown, with 4.2 million people in the UK judged to be experiencing high levels of loneliness.
Three, with help from Lampard and Hayes, are encouraging everyone to reach out, pick up the phone and provide support to people you might not even realise are struggling. Whether it is a phone call, a text or just messaging someone privately instead of on a group chat, taking a couple of minutes to check if someone is okay could make all the difference.
‘This year has been tough for everyone and while Christmas is a happy time for some, for others it can be incredibly difficult,’ said Lampard. ‘People may be struggling with their mental health and can often feel isolated and alone.
‘Think about who this might be in your life. Your dad who lives on his own, your friend that's gone quiet on the group chat, your team-mate that doesn't seem themselves. This Christmas you can make a difference by Supporting Someone Else.’
Three’s longstanding mental health charity partner Time to Change are also involved, providing help and guidance for those in need and people who want to participate in Support Someone Else.
Their recent research has also found that football fans have found the Covid-19 pandemic especially tough, as absence from normal social meeting places like pubs and football stadiums has severely restricted their time seeing friends regularly.
Time to Change found that nearly half of all men in the UK have struggled with mental health in the last six months. Mental health and isolation during the pandemic is a subject that Chelsea players including Ben Chilwell, Mason Mount, Millie Bright and Fran Kirby have spoken out about, trying to remove the stigma around the subject and underlining the importance of discussing it.
With the Christmas period inextricably linked to football for a lot of people – Boxing Day fixtures in particular forming a part of many families’ festive traditions – Lampard and Hayes have joined Three in appealing to football fans nationwide, regardless of their club allegiance, to remember the importance of staying connected and providing support networks for those who need it.
You can find more information on the Support Someone Else initiative, as well as help and advice, here.