Several Academy players were showing their support of the Heads Up campaign on Saturday afternoon.
Players from both the Under-23s and Under-18s could be found aiding in the selling of programmes before the Liverpool game, whilst encouraging a discussion into mental health with fans.
One vendor in particular saw Academy products Tom Scully, Jon McCracken and Zach Dronfield help out. Speaking to canaries.co.uk, the three players were keen on the cause.
Scully cited his previous experience with mental health, explaining why a campaign such as Heads Up is so important to him particularly.
“The Heads Up campaign means quite a lot to me, to be fair. I’ve been through everything it’s aimed at.
“Obviously, it isn’t great going through it, but now coming out on the better side, it’s fantastic seeing all these people coming up and talking about what’s going on. I think what Norwich are doing is fantastic, and hopefully it keeps going.”
“It’s become quite big in the last couple of months, everybody’s trying to promote it, it’s quite a big thing.” McCracken added,
“Everyone goes through their own struggles, it’s good for people to talk up and talk out, that’s why we’re here to promote it. The Premier League have done a good job with that as well. We just need to help it and be the leaders for it.”
With the discussion of mental health opening up more as time goes on, it’s just as important for the narrative to be open for fans as it is players. This is something that Dronfield is well aware of, acknowledging the importance of mental wellbeing everywhere, not just on the pitch.
“Everyone at some stage in their life may go through mental health issues. It connects the players, the staff and the fans.
“It gives us all something to talk about and lets everybody know that there is someone there for each other, so no matter what you’re going through, there is someone who has been through it. Whether that’s a player or a fan, you can relate to it and talk.
“It’s not only good for the sport, it’s good for day-to-day life. It really is something that needs to be talked about.
“Some people sit there and dwell on things, and it can get to their heads. The fact that everyone gets involved, it’s just so good for everyone and so beneficial.”
Scully agreed, saying hearing the fans experiences with mental health unites the groups.
“Talking about mental health for players is massive. It’s huge, because with all the amount of abuse and praise you get, you’ve got to learn to deal with it all.
“For fans, it’s different, when I’m doing stuff like this, they’re always coming up to you to ask about your experiences and share their experiences.
“It’s good for me to see and hear other people’s experiences as well. It brings everyone together, players and fans, so I think that’s good.”
With the discussion growing around mental health, all three lads agreed that the campaign is in a great place, but always has room to improve and grow. Scully was particularly impressed with the turnout of fans talking about it, especially in the rain.
“What’s going on right now is absolutely amazing. Obviously, there’s always more to be done. But, at the minute, we’re selling programmes and people are coming to us in the rain.
“We’re doing everything we can, the club are doing everything they can, it’s all about people coming together and talking more, which obviously is the point of the campaign.”
“I think it’s just going to get better and better the more the Premier League push it on. It’ll only get better for everyone, that’s for both fans and players to speak up,” McCracken pointed out.
“If a player speaks up, it might encourage a player to come out and speak up as well. It’s positive that everybody’s going for it.”
Dronfield is optimistic for the future of mental health awareness, saying it should become a daily routine for everyone to talk about, and not unusual to hear.
“I think the more events like this that run, people will learn that it’s acceptable to speak out and everyone goes through it.
“The more it goes on and the further we go down the line, I think it’ll become something that’s spoken about normally just like a casual day-to-day conversation, which is where it needs to be at.”