Fly Me To The Moon column: How football supporters are drawing during lockdown through new mental health campaign #TerraceTalk

Fly Me To The Moon column: Robert Nichols attended the lauch of the Football Supporters Association initiative #TerraceTalk, a fan-led mental health campaign supported by MIND.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 5:09 pm

What a shocker on Tuesday night. After two great results we completely capitulated in a mad first half against a team that couldn't previously even score a goal never mind buy a win.

The fact that no matter what manager we have in charge we nearly always lose at home to Bristol City is no comfort at all. Over the previous couple of days we finally looked to be getting somewhere only to crash down. At least we could turn the TV off, we didn't have to sit around the Riverside feeling the pain.

Yet, you know what, that actually only makes it worse because for Boro fans, as with football fans right around the country, we are missing our big social occasion of the week and that can take its toll. Which is precisely why football supporters are drawing together to start the ball rolling, so to speak, to help look after each other's mental wellbeing.

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Middlesbrough fans.

Wednesday was the launch of the Football Supporters Association #TerraceTalk initiative. It is a football fan led mental health campaign supported by MIND and the EFL that will see a series of events throughout the year and provide the tools and contacts to help supporters help themselves.

Talking about things can be a good starting point and on Wednesday evening fans from around the nation as well as the football pyramid put all sporting rivalries aside to come together on a Zoom call to listen and talk about mental health.

The launch featured four inspirational speakers from football and mental health charities including Luke Chadwick, who bravely went public last year to talk about the mental health scars he suffered when ridiculed over his physical appearance as a young midfielder for Man United in the 1990s.

There were plenty of tips for fans suffering the consequences of endless isolation of lockdown and missing matchday experience. Dulwich Hamlet footballer Danny Mills has become a mental health campaigner for his fellow players as well as the non league supporter community and he is a big advocate of keeping some routine in your life, as well as regular physical exercise.

There was a vast room at the event and it was interesting to hear just how many people regularly go out for a walk. Setting goals was also a popular lockdown defeater. My staircase challenge for Boro Walkers and MFC Foundation is drawing to a close now, Sunday will be the last time I need to climb my stairs 88 times before finally scaling the twin peaks of Kilimanjaro (old Monty Python joke). Next month I have been tasked to run for Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. It all keeps me going.

Swapping these coping tips and talking about lockdown experiences, good and bad, was really interesting and encouraging.

Boro's new pre-match Virtual Concourse is hoping to renew some of the social aspects of the big match day. I am hoping to join the zoom crowd before Saturday's game with Cardiff.

Do have a look at #TerraceTalk on the fsa website. Take Care. Come On Boro

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