Prince William launches new mental health campaign to tackle men's well-being in grassroots soccer

He spoke in passionate terms about the mental health crisis in the U.K.

May 15, 2019, 11:51 AM

LONDON -- Prince William took a break from playing uncle Wednesday to launch a new mental health initiative alongside the U.K.'s soccer governing body, in order to improve the national conversation around men's well-being in conjunction with International Mental Health Awareness Week.

The Heads Up initiative sees William's Heads Together charity partner up with the U.K.'s Football Association to "generate the biggest ever conversation around mental health."

The prince started Heads Up three years ago with the Duchess of Cambridge and the Dukes and Duchess of Sussex.

PHOTO: Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (second right) speaks with stakeholders from the grassroots of football as he attends the launch of a new mental health campaign at Wembley Stadium in London on May 15, 2019.
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (second right) and President of the Football Association speak with stakeholders from the grassroots of football as he attends the launch of a new mental health campaign at Wembley Stadium in London on May 15, 2019.
Chris Jackson/AFP/Getty Images

Addressing assembled journalists at London's Wembley Stadium, William spoke passionately about the mental health crisis affecting the U.K. The fact that suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under the age of 45 is evidence of why things need to change, he said.

"When it comes to our mental health, we -- and by we, I mean men in particular -- often have nothing to say at all," William told a packed newsroom. "And when we know we need help, we don't even know where to start. Just like physical health, we all have mental health. The consequences of this silence, confusion, stigma, and even shame have reached a crisis point in the U.K."

Tackling mental health was also necessary to help the next generation, he said, so that people can "play their full role as parents."

The campaign will encourage soccer fans and players alike to talk openly about their mental health, sharing their strategies and experiences to help other people who are struggling. The aim of the Heads Up campaign is to remove the stigma around men talking about their feelings, and help "drive a national conversation," William said. The charity will advertise extensively throughout the next soccer season in the U.K., which starts in August this year.

Meanwhile it's back to business as usual for the royals, just a day after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the newest addition to the family, baby Archie, at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.

"William and Kate made their first visit to see their new nephew Archie on Tuesday," ABC News' Royal contributor Victoria Murphy reported.

"They stopped by Frogmore Cottage after Harry returned from a day of engagements in Oxford," Murphy said. "It's understood just the two of them went -- so George, Charlotte and Louis haven't met their cousin yet, but that will of course happen at some point. William and Kate previously said they were looking forward to seeing him so I'm sure that it was lovely for them all."

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