Prince William was joined by football greats for a video chat on mental health within the game and normalizing it.
David Beckham, Steph Houghton, Tyrone Mings, Andros Townsend and Carlo Ancelotti joined the Duke of Cambridge on a video call after the football family signed a declaration to make mental health a priority of those involved in the games as part of the Heads Up campaign.
Beckham spoke of the effects of social media on mental health and how he was “lucky” it wasn’t around in his early career.
“I made a mistake in ‘98 and the reaction at the time was pretty brutal… If social media was around when I was going through that time, it would have been a whole different story,” the father of four said. “But I was lucky, I had a support system within Manchester United, the manager, and obviously family. But did I feel it was ok at the time to go to someone and say I need help? No, because it was a different era, and I just felt that I had to keep it all in and deal with it myself. Whereas now I’m the one preaching to my kids and to other kids that I talk to out there that it’s really important to talk… We all know now that it’s ok not to be ok, and it’s ok to say that. It’s ok to come out and say I need help.”
Meanwhile, England Women’s Captain Houghton added, “As a leader, you try and be this person that’s always strong and always really positive, but the reality is sometimes you’re going to have a bit of a bad day. I think the way that you grow as a leader and [create] the environment for people to open up is if you show that little bit of vulnerability – maybe one day you do have a bad day, you’re a bit down or you’ve maybe not played as well as you possibly can, it’s ok to show that.”
Prince William’s Heads Together and The FA, which he is president of, have been running the season-long Heads Up campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues. It will end on August 1 with the “Heads Up FA Cup Final” dedicated to the cause.