A campaign launched by Everton Football Club and the Everton in the Community charity in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak has received positive feedback from health and wellbeing provider BHSF.

The ‘Blue Family’ campaign aims to provide vital mental health support and assistance to some of the most vulnerable, socially isolated and at-risk members of the community.

Fans and members of the community in greatest need will be contacted by Everton in the Community staff via calls and messages. Messages will also be communicated through the club and charity social media channels and websites with home workout videos, mindfulness tips and wellness activities including yoga.

Dr David Poots, senior occupational health physician at BHSF, feels football clubs have a role in raising awareness of mental health and that Everton are more than playing their part.

“It’s important to acknowledge feelings and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health particularly during these difficult times. A phone call or a message to see how people are can make a big difference to a person’s morale. It shows you care.

“Everton Football Club and Everton in the Community deserve plenty of credit for taking time to help the most vulnerable and at-risk people. It’s heart-warming when you see players like Mason Holgate on the phone speaking to a 92 year-old Evertonian, who is currently self-isolating, and seeing how they are. You can’t help but feel moved.

“It’s also great to see the club encouraging people to get active through home workouts. Even though we have been advised to stay at home, you can still have fun exercising at home.

“Sport can have a positive impact both physically and mentally. A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry Journal shows that regular physical activity lasting 45 minutes three to five times a week can reduce poor mental health1.”

HRH The Duke of Cambridge visited Everton in the Community in January 2020, to find out more about the club’s mental health work as part of the FA’s ‘Heads Up’ campaign.

Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford believes footballers have a big role in inspiring people to talk about their feelings. He also spoke to everton.com about his admiration for the work Everton in the Community carries out.

“As footballers, we have a responsibility to do what we can to help tackle the stigma around mental health and encourage football fans – especially men – to talk and let them know that it’s okay not to be okay.

“As players, we’re all strong supporters of Everton in the Community’s fantastic work and we love to get involved at any given opportunity. For the charity to have the chance to show His Royal Highness exactly what it does to make a difference to the lives of others, was a great honour. Everyone involved with the charity’s work should be very proud.”

Everton defender, Leighton Baines, told the club’s official website about how proud he is of Everton’s mental health work.

“I’ve been involved with many of Everton in the Community’s mental health programmes. It’s always good to hear stories about how the programmes have helped change lives. When you get to sit with people and have a conversation, it brings home the importance of the work that’s being done.”

1 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45116607