Kick-off times in the William Hill Scottish Cup Fifth Round will be delayed by one minute this weekend to encourage players, staff and supporters alike to engage in conversation around mental health.
The initiative is part of the Scottish FA’s support for the ‘Heads Up’ mental health campaign and coincides with ‘Heads Up Weekend’, which is intended to highlight the importance of encouraging conversation about mental health.
With support from 16 teams across eight fixtures this weekend, beginning with Rangers’ visit to Hamilton on Saturday, the delayed kick-off times are not only aimed at removing the stigma around discussing mental health but also highlighting the support available to people across the country.
The initiative comes after research from Heads Up revealed that male fans are three times more likely to talk about football than they are mental health.
The survey of 2,014 football fans, carried out by Censuswide, showed:
• Football is the number one topic of conversation (75 percent) between fans and their friends
• However, only 1 in 3 football fans regularly talk about mental health with their friends – with male fans much less likely to do so (27 percent of male respondents, compared to 47 percent of women). Overall, male football fans were more than three times more likely to talk about football than mental health with their friends (83 percent, compared with 27 percent).
• Meanwhile, 40 percent of football fans find it easiest to talk about their mental health while busy with other activities – such as while walking or running, driving, going to the pub, or watching sports with a friend. Meanwhile 32 percent would find it easiest to have a face to face conversation at home with no distractions.
Spearheaded by The Duke of Cambridge, the season-long campaign brings together UK Football Associations with Football teams in England also participating this weekend as football unites to spark a national conversation.
Scottish FA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell said: “We are proud to support the Heads Up campaign across the Scottish Cup this weekend, using the prominent platform the competition provides to raise awareness of the importance of talking about mental health.
“Delaying kick-off times by a minute will hopefully unite fans around a common goal for a brief period and encourage open conversation about this vitally important issue.”
Fans are encouraged to join the conversation using #KickOffAConversation and #HeadsUp. Find out more by visiting www.headstogether.org.uk/Heads-Up
For immediate support, text ‘HeadsUp’ to 85258 to connect with a trained crisis volunteer – a service run by ‘Shout’ and powered by Crisis Text Line, which is available 24/7 and free to text from most mobile networks, or contact Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.