Sunderland AFC is proud to once again be supporting Mental Health Awareness Week.
Running from 18 to 24 May, the theme for 2020 is ‘be kind’.
The focus on kindness is a response to the coronavirus outbreak and the ongoing mental health challenges caused by the pandemic, with the Mental Health Foundation also starting a discussion on the kind of society we want to shape moving forward.
Alongside the Foundation of Light, SAFC has continued to tackle mental health in the north east throughout the 2019-20 season, which culminated in the launch of the Matchday Mental Health Hub at the Beacon of Light.
Throughout the pandemic, Wearside has continued to lead the way, with the ‘Sunderland Together’ initiative raising over £14,000 for numerous local charities, including Washington Mind.
Club director David Jones has also reached out to elderly supporters via telephone to ensure high spirits are maintained, while Luke O’Nien put supporters of all ages through their paces to raise funds for the NHS.
Internally, SAFC continues to offer any and all support required to players and staff alike throughout what is an incredibly challenging period for us all.
The club is also proud to be supporting the EFL and Mind, who are continuing to use the power of football to help improve the nation’s mental health and wellbeing.
Every day for the next week, they will be releasing a series of short films featuring their ‘On Your Side Champions’, which will see representatives from across the EFL sharing their mental health experiences and offering advice for supporters.
“Now more than ever, we need to rediscover kindness in our daily lives,” said Mark Rowland, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation.
“We want to use Mental Health Awareness Week to celebrate the thousands of acts of kindness that are so important to our mental health. And we want to start a discussion on the kind of society we want to shape as we emerge from this pandemic.”
The first Mental Health Awareness Week took place in 2001 and it has since become one of the most significant mental health awareness observances in the world.
There are many different ways that you can get involved with Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, from raising awareness on social media to following in the footsteps of O’Nien, and many other Wearsiders, by holding virtual fundraisers.
If you have experienced or witnessed an act of kindness within the local community, let us know on social media by using #SunderlandTogether, #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthFoundationWeek.
And remember, it’s OK to not be OK.
If you would like to speak to someone or have any concerns for those around you, Washington Mind are here to help.