FA president Prince William wants to use football to remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Prince William wants to use football to remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
The Duke of Cambridge - who is president of the Football Association (FA) - appeared at Wembley Stadium in London to announce the Heads Up initiative and hopes it will encourage fans to open up about mental issues as much as they are happy to talk about physical injuries.
He said in a speech: ''Football fans tend to be obsessed with physical health in the game. We can spend hours in the pub talking about the injuries back our club's top players.
''And those of us who like to play ourselves get pretty concerned about how we maintain our own fitness. Some share stories of injuries picked up in our youth, which of course were the only thing that held us back from a very glittering career on the pitch...But when it comes to our mental health, we - and by us I men in particular - often have nothing to say at all.''
The 36-year-old royal - who launched the Heads Together mental health initiative with his brother Prince Harry and wife Duchess Catherine three years ago - hopes Heads Up will ''lead the next phase'' of conversation around the issue.
He said: ''As President of The FA I saw an opportunity to bring the sport I love - that many men talk about more than anything else in their lives - to help lead the next phase of the conversation.
''Over the last two years, we've been working behind the scenes to decide the best way to harness the power of football to change the way men think about mental health. Heads Up will show men that we all have mental health just like we have physical health.
''Building on the amazing attitude that led England to the World Cup Semi-Finals, it will show us all that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness.''
Heads Up aims to harness the influence and popularity of football to help show the world that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness, and will be launched at The FA Community Shield in August 2019.
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