Prince William appeared at Wembley Stadium Wednesday to launch a new mental health campaign.
The Duke of Cambridge, who is the president of the Football Association, launched Heads Together three years ago with Kate Middleton and Prince Harry.
He is now set to partner with the FA next season for Heads Up, with the Cup Final being dedicated to the campaign next May.
According to a press release, the charity “will harness the influence and popularity of football to help show the world that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness, and will build on the decades of work to tackle the stigma and drive the conversation on mental health.”
While the campaign is aimed at everyone including players, supporters, friends and families, it’s widely recognized that football is a uniquely powerful way to reach men in particular.
William said: “As President of The FA I saw an opportunity to bring the sport I love – that many men talk about more than anything else in their lives – to help lead the next phase of the conversation.”
“Over the last two years, we’ve been working behind the scenes to decide the best way to harness the power of football to change the way men think about mental health. Heads Up will show men that we all have mental health just like we have physical health. Building on the amazing attitude that led England to the World Cup Semi-Finals, it will show us all that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness.”
Martin Glenn, FA’s Chief Executive, added: “Mental health remains one of the biggest issues facing men under the age of 45. Around 12 million people play football in England each year, with even more watching on, and Heads Up will use the power and popularity of football to drive awareness and change. In football and in life we’re constantly talking about physical fitness – but mental fitness is even more important.”
“Helping to raise awareness for mental health is a real priority for The FA and we are delighted to partner with The Duke of Cambridge and Heads Together on this project. The FA has already done a lot of great work in this space but we want to ensure English football is set up to be a world leader in sport when it comes to mental health.”
Godric Smith, Chair of the Heads Up campaign, continued: “After the success of Heads Together, The Duke identified the opportunity to take the conversation on through our national game. Nothing gets men in particular talking more than football. We also know there is pretty much nothing they are less likely to talk about than their mental health.”
“The Heads Up campaign gives us the chance to help change that and build on the great work that is already happening. Through football and the leadership of The FA we can help show we all have mental health and demonstrate to everyone the importance of mental fitness.”