Prince William Urges Football Fans to 'Take a Minute' for Mental Health: 'We Can All Feel Anxious'

The Duke of Cambridge launches the latest stage in his Heads Up mental health initiative around the FA Cup

Prince William is hitting the ground running in the New Year. A couple of days after he launched his ambitious mission to solve Earth’s environmental issues, the royal is unveiling an inspiring new film to promote mental health awareness.

The video, voiced by the royal dad of three, aims to get football fans to pause for a minute and think about their mental health. The 60-second PSA is the next step in William’s initiative to use soccer to help raise awareness of mental health challenges — especially in men.

“In life as in football we all go through highs and lows,” he says in the film, which is part of his Heads Up initiative with Every Mind Matters. “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.”

“Every Mind Matters and Heads Up will show you the simple steps you can take to look after your mental health. Helping to boost your mood, improve your sleep and feel ready for life’s ups and downs. It only takes a minute to get started,” he concludes.

Using the prestigious FA Cup competition that takes place this weekend, the film, which stars current and former players like Frank Lampard, Harry Maguire and Callum Hudson-Odoi, urges fans and players and others to “take a minute” to consider their mental health.

William, Duke of Cambridge
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

Each of the 32 matches in the third round of the famous knockout competition will take place after a minute delay to encourage fans to take the step. The FA Cup knockout contest reaches its third round this weekend and sees some of the best soccer teams in Britain hoping to progress to the final at Wembley Stadium in London on May 23.

The Heads Up campaign, which came out of the Heads Together initiative that he started with wife Kate Middleton and brother Prince Harry, will culminate on May 23. Around the occasion, the BBC will air A Royal Road To Wembley: Tackling Mental Health, which will trace the competition over the recent months, and feature the stories of men who have been affected by mental health, as William discusses the issue with fans and footballers alike.

William, who is President of The FA, said in a statement, “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.”

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Prince George of Cambridge arrive for the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, eastern England, on December 25, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince William and Prince George. BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty

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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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