Prince William isn’t wasting any time in 2020! In his latest move, the Duke of Cambridge has announced a new mental health initiative — and he’s leveraging the unifying power of football (read: soccer for American readers) to foster an important dialogue. The goal? To start the “largest ever conversation on mental health” and encourage people, especially men, to feel comfortable discussing issues like anxiety, stress and depression.
Although the Head’s Up: Football Unites for Mental Health program technically launched last year, Kensington Palace released a new video on Instagram voiced by the royal dad-of-three. “Ahead of this weekend’s @EmiratesFACup Third Round matches, we’re encouraging fans to ‘Take A Minute’ to start taking action to look after their mental health and that of their family and friends,” the Palace captioned the video, noting that all 32 FA Cup Third Round matches will be delayed by one minute this year to focus on mental health as the film plays.
In the 60-second PSA, William reminds fans that — like sports — mental health is universal. “In life as in football we all go through highs and lows,” he says. “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.”
It’s an inspired idea, using what is arguably the U.K.’s most popular sport to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Both are passions for William, who is the President of The Football Association.
In a statement about the collaborative campaign, he shared, “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.”