Head In The Game will launch its annual armband campaign on Friday evening when Dundalk take on Drogheda United in the 169th Louth Derby at Oriel Park.

Each captain from the SSE Airtricity Premier Division, First Division and Women’s National League will wear the armband in each match during May which is observed as mental health awareness month.

Head In The Game is a supporter led mental health campaign aimed at helping members of the Irish football community. The movement was established in September 2020 by Dundalk FC supporters who were determined to create a discussion and break down the stigma of mental illness following the tragic passing of Lilywhites videographer Harry Taaffe.

The campaign aims to provoke a discussion about mental health and well-being to create awareness about mental illness. Head In The Game is partnered with two mental health charities, Jigsaw and Shine, to help signpost people towards professional services.

‘Beyond Rivalries’ is the key message that the organisation is hoping to get across this year. As an act of solidarity, the Dundalk and Drogheda United players will warm up in Head In The Game t-shirts before the match.

“We’re thrilled to launch this initiative again this year and we hope it raises plenty of awareness on derby night,” said Head In The Game chairperson Dean Arrowsmith.

“We would like to thank everyone at both clubs, Dundalk and Drogheda United, for their continued support and we would also like to thank the FAI for facilitating us and supporting us with this initiative for the second year running.

“If it encourages one person to speak to their friends or a mental health professional about the issues or challenges they face, then it is worth every bit of time and effort.”

“As a club, we place a huge emphasis on raising awareness about mental health and it is great to see Head In The Game launch their armband campaign for a second year,” said Dundalk FC chief operating officer Martin Connolly.

“Sport thrives on great rivalries but we are delighted to work alongside our Louth neighbours at Drogheda United to try and highlight that a person’s mental health and wellbeing is more important than anything that happens on a football pitch.”

“We are delighted to continue our strong association with Head In The Game to promote the importance of good mental health,” said Drogheda United chairman Conor Hoey.

“To work together with our friends at Dundalk shows that some things, such as looking out for one another, are more important than football.”

For more information on Head In The Game, visit their website at www.headinthegame.ie