The EFL held a special online event on Thursday to keep the conversation around mental health going, as part of its Team Talk campaign. EFL and club staff - including EFL Chief Executive Trevor Birch and Chair Rick Parry - were joined by current and former players and pundits such as Ben Foster, Don Goodman, Scott Minto and Caroline Barker for the virtual session, to discuss the importance of raising awareness and the League's partnership with mental health charity, Mind. Participants opened up on a range of importance issues, sharing their personal experiences and forming small groups to swap stories.
The event was held after recent research from Mind showed that 60 per cent of adults and 68 per cent of young people felt their mental health had worsened during lockdown. All 72 EFL clubs are supporting the campaign, with many holding similar events in recent weeks in a bid to urge supporters to talk and stay connected during what is a difficult time. Brentford held a session just after Christmas as part of the ongoing Talk Club for Men initiative.
Speaking whilst hosting the event, broadcaster Rachel Burden said: “Today's event has hopefully given everyone a boost during what is clearly a challenging time, because I think everyone's mental health has been affected by the pandemic. The Team Talk campaign urges everyone to stay connected, because football is such a good common ground, and we've used that unique community and shared passion to get people together. We’re all in it together and hopefully the session lifted spirits and was really useful."
Goodman added: "Today’s session was excellent and really important. I’m one of the fortunate ones who is still able to do their job and commentate on live football, but last season we went from March through to June with no football and it was really hard, I found it tough and sometimes with sessions like this, it’s nice to get an insight into people’s home lives away from football, but whilst having football as the common ground.
“Everyone will have different things that keep them going, it may be training, it may be working, it may be a combination of both or it may be something completely different. I've had a couple of bad days since the pandemic started myself and I promised myself never again, it’s important to concentrate on what you can do and keep your mind occupied."