Prince William Has Candid Conversation With David Beckham and Other Athletes About Mental Health
By Rachel McRady
Prince William is teaming up with some of soccer's top stars to spread the word about mental health. The 38-year-old Duke of Cambridge participated in a virtual video chat for his Heads Together charity with A-list athletes including David Beckham, Steph Houghton, Tyrone Mings and more, which was released on the Kensington Royal social media accounts on Monday.
"I really hope you guys feel this but the tide is turning on mental health and we are making progress," William tells the athletes.
Beckham, 45, who jokes he was "slightly overdressed" in a sharp brown suit for the appearance, adds, "It's OK to not be OK and it's OK to say that. It's OK to come out and say, 'I need help.'"
The father of four and husband of Victoria Beckham also opens up about how having support from his former teammates helped him through a difficult time.
“I made a mistake in ‘98 and the reaction at the time was pretty brutal… If social media was around when I was going through that time, it would have been a whole different story," he recalls. "But I was lucky, I had a support system within Manchester United, the manager, and obviously family. But did I feel it was OK at the time to go to someone and say I need help? No, because it was a different era, and I just felt that I had to keep it all in and deal with it myself. Whereas now I’m the one preaching to my kids and to other kids that I talk to out there that it’s really important to talk."
Together, the group is promoting the new initiative, the Mentally Healthy Football Declaration. This declaration states that soccer leagues in the U.K. are making mental health a priority "at all levels of the game," according to a press release from Kensington Palace.
⚽ A landmark moment for football ✍️
The football family has come together to sign the ‘Mentally Healthy Football’ Declaration, committing to building a mentally healthy culture at all levels of the game as a lasting legacy of the #HeadsUp campaign. pic.twitter.com/9QRLpSZhrJ
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) July 26, 2020
The hope is that the initiative will inspire those involved in the sport and its millions of fans to seek mental health help.