Talk More Than Football –

…… Three and Samaritans encourage fans to talk mental health with half-time takeover at Stamford Bridge

From the official Chelsea FC website:

Chelsea Football Club’s shirt partner Three UK is also proud partner of Samaritans, the charity that is there for anyone struggling to cope 24/7, and it is encouraging football fans to open up about their mental health.

During half-time at today’s game against Brighton, three Chelsea legends and three lifelong fans walked onto the pitch with the Samaritans helpline number, 116 123, clearly displayed on the back of each of their shirts.

Standing in solidarity, the six men took to the pitch to share a poignant message, encouraging fans at the game, and across the UK, to #TalkMoreThanFootball.

Chelsea legends Gary Cahill, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, plus the fans, stood in front of thousands at Stamford Bridge to promote conversations about mental health between men and raise awareness of Samaritans’ emotional support.

New research commissioned by Three has revealed that nearly nine in 10 (88 per cent) of the nation agrees that sport brings people together with 80 per cent stating that football does this the most out of any sport.

Brits are twice as likely to talk about football (55 per cent) than their mental wellbeing (24 per cent), and this jumps to four times as likely among men (68 per cent football versus 17 per cent mental wellbeing). To add to this, only one in 10 see sport as an opportunity to discuss how they are doing at a deeper level, and 30 per cent do not feel comfortable or never speak about their mental wellbeing at sporting events.

Suicide is the biggest killer of people under 35 and men under 50, and as times get tough it is vital that people feel able to reach out for support and talk about their mental health, now more than ever, whatever the occasion.

Football, a force for good

The UK’s favourite sport plays a big role in bringing friends and family closer. The UK has an estimated 28.8m football fans, 17m of which (59 per cent) see it as an opportunity to catch up with those closest to them and 28 per cent of Brits are in WhatsApp groups that focus solely on football, more than any other sport.

Given the incredible community that football is famous for; attending matches, watching with friends, chatting online, or catching up about the game on the phone can all provide amazing opportunities to check in on how those around you are really doing.

Checking in on more than just the score

However, with many feeling unable to talk about how they are doing on a deeper level, it is important that we collectively check in and talk about more than just the beautiful game.

One in five (18 per cent) Brits spend more time checking the football score on their phones than anything else. Our phones are powerful forms of communication that allow us to not only check the score in an instance but also check in with loved ones and talk about the issues we’re facing at the drop of a hat.

When it comes to checking in with friends and family to see how they are doing, over half of Brits (52 per cent) do this once a week or more. These check-ins are important to find out if friends and family are okay, as 29 per cent of the nation stated they generally feel more comfortable waiting for someone to ask how they are doing before discussing their mental wellbeing.

Reaching out

Reaching out to see how someone is doing can make a huge difference in people’s lives, if you’re already talking about the score why not ask about a little bit more?

If you are finding things tough and want to talk to someone, you can contact Samaritans, the charity that is there any time of the day or night just by dialling six simple digits – 116 123

Tom Glick, Chelsea FC president of business, said:

‘We are very proud to be able to stand alongside Three and Samaritans to promote such an important cause. For our fans here in the UK, and those around the world, football is something that brings them together and has the ability to give them a true sense of community.

‘Through campaigns like today’s and the incredible work being done in the community by the Chelsea Foundation, we will continue to create a more open and caring community for our fans.’

Aislinn O’Connor, director of marketing at Three UK said: ‘Through our partnerships with Samaritans and Chelsea Football Club, Three has the unique opportunity to start a conversation amongst football fans that goes beyond more than just football.

‘Our research revealed that Brits are almost twice as likely to talk about football than their mental wellbeing. Sport is incredibly powerful and we at Three want to harness the amazing community that exists in football and highlight the importance of speaking to, and supporting those around us when we need it most. As a mobile network, we’re incredibly proud to help connect people through their phones every day and highlight the importance of speaking to and supporting those around us when they need it most.’

Sonya Trivedy, executive director for external engagement at Samaritans, added: ‘Football fans can talk endlessly about formations, offsides, and VAR decisions but often find it harder to open up about the really important things, such as their own mental health.

‘The half-time take over is a great way to help tackle the stigma around talking about difficult feelings, which is more important than ever before. We’re proud that our partner, Three UK, shares our belief in the power of human connection and we’re grateful for this wonderful opportunity to raise awareness and funds for Samaritans’ life-saving service.’

If you would like to donate to Samaritans, text TALKMORE to 70470 to donate £5. Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message. Three will match every Samaritans TALKMORE donation received throughout the campaign, up to £20,000.





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