MK Dons is joining forces with the charity Mind in the lead-up to Tuesday’s Sky Bet League One fixture with Charlton Athletic to tackle mental health problems.
Together, they hope to raise awareness among fans about mental health and the support the charity provides, as well as to raise vital funds to tackle mental health problems.
The match day comes as part of Mind’s charity partnership with the EFL, which has seen the charity work with all 72 EFL clubs, including the Dons, to help bring a lasting legacy around mental health in football.
The charity match day will include:
- Fundraising activity to support vital local mental health services provided by MK Dons’ local Mind branch – Mind BLMK
- Information about mental health and Mind posted across club channels in the build-up to the match.
- Players to wear branded t-shirts in the build-up to the game while the squad will help with providing key messaging about Mind’s services
- MK Dons to include Mind BLMK's Twitter handle in all matchday posts, while the Club's Twitter profile will feature the Mind logo.
Mind’s own research shows that over half of people (56 per cent) feel that football fans find it easier to show their emotions at football matches than at any other time. Despite this the charity also knows that many fans, particularly men, are struggling in silence for fear of opening up about their mental health.
This is likely to have been made all the worse by the impact of the pandemic. Mind’s most recent research found that more than half of adults and two-thirds of young people saying their mental health got worse during the first lockdown.
The charity hopes mental health-themed match days like this will begin to open up the conversation among football fans about their mental health, as well as raising awareness about the support Mind offers at this difficult time.
Mind’s national charity partnership with the EFL launched at the start of the 2018/19 season and has since been extended to run until the end of the 2021/22 season. Working with all 72 EFL clubs across the country it aims to:
- raise awareness about mental health with fans, clubs and staff
- raise funds to deliver life-changing support
- help improve the approach to mental health in football working with other partners in the game.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. That could be one person in every family, hundreds of football players and many thousands of football fans.
"We know that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on people’s mental health, not least fans, who have been missing the camaraderie and community spirit that comes with attending match days.
"That’s why it’s more important than ever that we remind fans of the support available to them on their doorstep and to let them know they don’t have to face mental health problems alone.
“We are proud to be working in partnership with all 72 clubs in the EFL, as part of our charity partnership with them, to be real game-changers in the way football tackles mental health. We hope that events like our match day with MK Dons will reach out to fans and let them know that whoever you support, Mind supports you.”
For more information about Mind’s partnership with the EFL and wider work in football visit mind.org.uk/football