Liverpool FC and AXA have launched a new national campaign, Sharing Makes Us Stronger, focused on building mental resilience.
In the first UK initiative since the insurer became a principal partner of the club, the two are joining forces to promote the power of sharing and support from the people around us.
Sophie Bradley-Auckland, captain of Liverpool FC Women, will appear in the campaign, which runs across TV, cinema, video-on-demand and press.
An accompanying short film with teammates Niamh Charles and Becky Jane sees Bradley-Auckland discuss her previous struggles with injuries, as well as self-doubt, and highlights how sharing these struggles enabled her to improve her mental and physical resilience.
The campaign is based on the real stories of four people, including Bradley-Auckland, who experienced difficulties with their mental health and the relief that came from sharing these feelings with friends and loved ones.
While the advert features actors and Bradley-Auckland, three additional content films reveal the lived experiences of those who inspired the campaign, with one, Aiysha Humphreys, creating the spoken word poem featuring in the ad.
As part of its partnership with the club, AXA also arranged for staff from LFC Foundation, the official charity of LFC dedicated to creating life-changing opportunities for children and young people in the area, to take part in a training course to become youth mental health first aid champions.
Throughout the course, staff discussed topics including stigma and discrimination, the mental health first aid action plan, and common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
The training aimed to help the LFC Foundation staff feel better equipped to talk about mental health issues that might arise from the young people they engage with across the 24 different programmes they deliver directly in schools and communities.
“Supporting staff from the LFC Foundation to become more aware of some of the subtle changes they may notice in young people – which could indicate that someone is struggling with their mental health or wellbeing – can give them confidence to proactively intervene,” said Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services, AXA PPP healthcare.
“Our campaign promotes the benefits of sharing fears or doubts to help build mental resilience within ourselves and among others, while our work with the LFC Foundation shows how staff can approach conversations with young people who may need help and suggestions of where to guide them for further support.
“While it’s a small step, having a better understanding can help encourage people to share their own stories and show that they can be there for those who want to reach out.”
Matt Parish, LFC Foundation director, said: “We are thankful to AXA for supporting our work and the development of our team.
“The training provided helps to improve our offer to children and young people, now and in the future, as the impact and reach of the LFC Foundation continues to grow.
“Last season we engaged 28,630 children and young people through our programmes. We specifically focus our work in areas of high need and high deprivation across the Liverpool city region, where children and adults have a higher likelihood of developing and experiencing mental health problems. This training further supports our aim to deliver sustainable and long-term change for communities.”
As part of the collaboration, an acronym has been designed to help members of the public identify key signs that a child or someone they know may need help or guidance.
- W-ITHDRAWN – Becoming noticeably quieter, less confident, subdued and distant from family, friends and teammates.
- A-NXIETY – Appearing ‘negative’ and depressed and/or experiencing worries and fears that stop them from carrying out daily tasks.
- T-IREDNESS – Poor sleeping patterns can cause tiredness, irritability and lethargy, and may suggest something is on their mind.
- C-HANGE – Any change in social behaviour, action or loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities may suggest that something’s ‘not right’.
- H-ARM – Evidence of physical injuries, risky behaviour, alcohol/drug misuse, suicidal thoughts or other actions that could cause physical harm may indicate distress.
AXA has also set up a dedicated content hub on its website, where visitors can find more information on mental resilience and the Sharing Makes Us Stronger campaign.
The hub includes a full-length version of the TV advert, an LFC Foundation documentary, stories that inspired the campaign, as well as information on how starting a conversation can help those looking to strengthen their resilience.