PSHE KS4: Joe Hart - Managing the pressures of the Premier League

Advisory: Contains material of a sensitive nature

Premier League goalkeeper Joe Hart describes how he overcame a difficult period in his career, which affected his mental wellbeing.

He discusses the importance of looking out for others' mental health as well as your own.

He meets HRH the Duke of Cambridge and discusses his experience and how he thinks football clubs can look after players' mental health.

Teacher Notes

  • This film is suitable for 14-16 year olds, but because it addresses some challenging issues we strongly advise making yourself very familiar with the content before using it and considering carefully whether it will be appropriate and suitable for your specific cohort.

  • Check class records to see if any of your class have any mental health issues or have personal/lived experience of the topics raised, and consider the best action/support for them in advance.

  • Check Government guidance on teaching about mental health along with your school policies to make sure you follow these guidelines/protocols and talk to a member of the SLT if you are in doubt about anything before you teach.

  • Whether you choose to lead a discussion, do an activity or a combination of both, always start your session by setting up a working agreement with the class. Creating a list of rules will make sure everyone feels safe and able to talk and join in without being judged.

Points for discussion

  • Joe talks about getting himself into a space where he feels comfortable (‘I feel comfortable, I feel relaxed’), even though he also feels sad and disappointed because he’s not being picked to play. How do you get comfortable when life doesn’t feel comfortable? When you feel sad or disappointed? (Answers might include acceptance, keeping calm, talking to friends and family, looking at the bigger picture, dealing with the next thing in front of you, doing the best you can a step, or a day, at a time, being grateful for what you have, not giving up, being realistic, setting achievable goals, working on inner strength, seeing challenges as positives.)

  • If Joe didn’t ask for help, what could have happened? (If big worries and problems are not talked about they can get bigger and more worrying – he could therefore have given up, got caught in a spiral of negativity, got depressed or had further mental health issues etc.) 'Talking can be incredibly helpful to make sense of and manage difficult experiences.’ - Heads Together

  • What can we learn from Joe? When are we ‘good enough’? What is ‘good enough’? Would ‘good enough’ look the same for everyone or different? Why?

Suggested activities:

  • Joe says ‘I didn’t really know how to handle tough moments, you just want to bat everyone away. Like, I’m fine, leave me, I’m fine just leave me.’ Why did he do this? In groups pupils note their ideas, and feedback verbally or create a graffiti or working wall. (For example, maybe he felt scared, that he wouldn’t be understood or that he might be judged, laughed at, that he didn’t want to bore people or bring them down with his issues or maybe he didn’t know how to start a conversation.) Explain these are all very common reasons why people don’t talk and let them share their thoughts/experiences on this if they feel comfortable doing so. Remind them that Joe changes his negative reactions to his situation - he says he ‘…opened up a line of communication, asked for help… got myself back in the team, won the league again.’ Is there anything we could change about ourselves from now on or that we could do differently like Joe did? (Explain that having time to reflect on how we react to life can be really helpful - by learning more about ourselves and developing positive coping strategies we can live a more content life, no matter what it throws at us.) You could explore this further through circle time, ‘When... happens, I react by..., it makes me feel…’ and/or ‘I’m going to try... when I feel…’ or through creative writing: ‘A new me’.

  • Joe says, ‘Why not be able to notice if someone’s not themselves and be able to ask them - are you all right? I’ve got an eye on you and if you need anything, I’m here.’ Explore these three great ideas for letting friends or team/school mates know you are there for them. Pick this apart with your class – what might this look like day to day? What could they do if they were worried about someone? (See signposting below and include when it would be important to tell an adult). Pupils create ‘How to be a good mental health mate’ posters to display around the school with tips for what to look out for, what to say, how to say it, when to say it and when to get support from a trusted adult.

  • At the end of the discussion/activity, always check in with the group to make sure they are OK, revisit the working agreement and remind them to talk to someone if anything they have seen in the film or discussed has made them feel uncomfortable. Finally, always signpost where they can get further support or information both within and outside of school. ChildLine is there for people right up to the age of 19 for support. Students can also find out more about Heads Together and find links to further support on their Get support page.)

Curriculum Notes

These lessons will fit within: Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education in England
Curriculum for Wales, Health and wellbeing in Wales
The Curriculum for Excellence, Health and wellbeing in Scotland
Northern Ireland Curriculum, Learning for life and work in Northern Ireland

More from this series:

Rob: Living with bereavement
Matthew: Living with anxiety
Nick: Living with anxiety
Marvin Sordell: Living with depression
HRH The Duke of Cambridge’s Mental Health Campaign