Chelsea FC and mobile network Three UK have enlisted the services of Vinnie Jones to help spread awareness of mental health in the new ‘Talk More Than Football’ campaign. 

Jones, former Chelsea player turned Hollywood actor, delivered a message on the importance of speaking on mental health issues in a promotional video, which also stars Chelsea players Cole Palmer, Nicolas Jackson, Robert Sanchez and Alfie Gilchrist

The video will premiere during Chelsea’s game at Stamford Bridge against Manchester United, which shows Jones revealing his own struggles with mental health and encouraging those with similar problems to reach out and speak up more.

In the video, Jones gives a ‘matchday-like’ team talk to the Chelsea players, stating: “Huddle up everyone. Enough is enough; it’s time to chat. 

“I grew up in an era when mental health wasn’t even a thing, yet it’s something I struggled with without realising. Now I want to empower men and women to talk about it.

“To those of us that love football; we need to use those connections we have made to talk about more than just football. If I can do it, then you can too.”

The campaign follows new research conducted by Three UK which revealed that two-thirds of the 2,000 football fan respondents stated they have struggled with mental health in the past, with one in three saying they have never spoken to anyone about it.

However, the research found that one in four fans said that seeing well-known people talk more regularly about mental health would help them do it too. A further two-thirds also revealed they would like to know how to broach the subject, with 62% liking a prompt to talk about it more regularly.

James Murray, Interim CEO of the Chelsea Foundation, said: ‘Passion and camaraderie are an essential part of football, whether playing professionally or supporting from the sidelines. But when it comes to emotional wellbeing, mental health has often seemed like a taboo subject in our industry.

“We are proud to work with Vinnie Jones, Three and Samaritans to help address this through an inspiring and passionate team talk. Everyone can play a part in helping to lift the social stigma by watching and sharing our #TalkMoreThanFootball campaign.”

Three and Samaritans are working together to offer free virtual and in-person listening skills sessions for football fans across the UK to learn how to have more supportive conversations with friends, colleagues and team-mates. 

Aislinn O’Connor, Marketing Director at Three UK and Ireland, added: “Inspired by Vinnie, we want communities across the country – and beyond – to use their shared passions, like football, to open up about mental health.

“We want them to talk about how they are feeling, be empowered to reach out and use their networks to have meaningful conversations with one another. Whether that’s picking up the phone, sending a message or sharing Vinnie’s team talk, there has never been a better time to “talk more than football”.

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