Chelsea are arguably having one of their worst seasons over the last two decades. They’re out of all cup competitions, including the UEFA Champions League, and sit at the bottom half of the Premier League table.
Things are not at all going well for Todd Boehly’s side. But one aspect in which the club seems to be progressing at is their initiatives with educating many on the importance of mental health issues. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, a divisive midfielder within the fanbase, has himself admitted to having struggled with mental health issues in the past – mostly due to his injury-prone nature.
The English midfielder was the face of a new Chelsea programme named ‘Talk More Than Football’ – in which the club tries to make fans aware of possible Mental Health problems and able to be open to accepting them.
Loftus-Cheek is not afraid of talking about certain mental issues that he has faced in his career and the Talk More Than Football program saw him talk about personal issues with a supporter. In the little audio clip of them talking to each other, the midfielder can be heard speaking about how he struggled with mental health issues during his torrid injury spells in the past.
There is also a mention of how footballers are affected by the negative responses from supporters on social media and how it impacts their mentality too. The fan also speaks about his own temperamental issues and that joining the Chelsea Foundation’s Mental Health program helped him deal with his mental health problems.
Loftus-Cheek also states that he has his own psychologist whom he’s been consulting since he was eight and he has different people whom he could go to get a consultation over different issues. He also indicates how being a man, and seeking help could get them to be branded as ‘weak.
The midfielder finishes by stating: “If we can get people talking about mental health as well as football, the world will be a different place.” Chelsea have earned praise for organizing this conversion, which is both realistic and hard-hitting as well.
The Chelsea Foundation, which was formed under Roman Abramovich’s reign as owner, has been looking into programs that help increase Mental Health awareness and encourage fans to be open about their mental issues as well.
Last year on ‘World Mental Health Day’ – which was October 10 – Chelsea started highlighting some of the Mental Health programs they run. That includes the Healthy Schools program, where the club’s foundation offers a 12-week healthy lifestyle program for children – to make them aware of eating healthy food, being active, setting life goals and maintaining positive mental health. It includes fun activities that help a child live a happy lifestyle.
There is also an ‘Active Seniors’ program for senior citizens – which includes adapted sports. The senior fans are able to play Walking Football and take part in exercise and mobility sessions.
The Chelsea Foundation also launched a new programme last year to help parents with disabled children. This mental health programme includes bi-weekly psychoeducation courses as well as exercise sessions, with these aiming to aid the parent and carers of disabled children support themselves and build friendships.
Last year on Mental World Health Day, Chelsea also launched a video where then manager Graham Potter sat down with Jorginho, Chelsea Women’s star Magdalena Eriksson as well as academy defender Bashir Humphreys – where they had an open chat about the mental pressure for the players and stress caused on and off the pitch.
While they might be undergoing a difficult transitional period on the pitch, Chelsea are definitely doing their part in erasing the myths around Mental Health Issues and ensuring that fans, as well as those involved with the club, are open to discussing and accepting their problems.
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