Prince William Discusses Men's Mental Health in New BBC Program: 'It's OK to Not Be OK'

"You can't be ashamed of your mental health, you've got to be able to look it in the eye," Prince William said

Prince William is opening up about the importance of mental health.

In a new trailer for the BBC program Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health, airing May 28, the Duke of Cambridge discusses the stigma and shame men often feel when facing mental health struggles.

“You can’t be ashamed of your mental health, you've got to be able to look it in the eye and go deal with it, here we go,” he says in the trailer.

Throughout the clip, William, 37, talks with athletes about their own struggles with mental health, both in-person and via video chat.

“It’s notoriously what men do, just say yeah, I’m fine,” one player tells William.

“It’s about feeling confident enough to say things aren’t great,” William later narrates. “It’s OK to not be OK.”

Prince William
Prince William. Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty

The upcoming BBC program is part of the royal's Heads Up initiative and will feature the stories of men who have been affected by mental health, as William discusses the issue with fans and footballers alike.

Heads Up came from the Heads Together campaign, which William started with wife Kate Middleton and brother Prince Harry. Earlier this year, William launched a short PSA as part of the initiative.

“In life as in football we all go through highs and lows,” William says in the 60-second film, released in January. “We can all sometimes feel anxious or stressed. At moments even the little things can seem a struggle. But we can all start to change things.”

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William, who is President of The Football Association, said in a statement at the time, “Over the course of the next five months, Heads Up will use one of the most powerful, unifying forces in our society – football – to spread the message that we all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Our ambition is to start the largest ever conversation on mental health and to ensure there is a lasting mental health legacy for the game in this country. I hope Heads Up can help us all take another big step forward in shattering the stigma that surrounds mental health.”

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Frank Lampard, the manager of Chelsea, added in a statement, “It’s hugely important for men to think about their mental health and take action where they can. I came from a family where we bottled up a lot of emotions, feelings and sometimes anxieties. I think a huge thing now is the great campaigns that are going on encouraging people to speak openly about looking after your mental health and not feel bad about how you feel inside. I think as men, sometimes we can think that it’s a weakness but it certainly isn’t. It’s a huge strength.”

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