Prince William joined David Beckham, Steph Houghton, Tyrone Mings, Andros Townsend and Carlo Ancelotti at a virtual round table where the importance of mental health in the football community was discussed. The conversation also included members of the campaign by Heads Up, the American association for mental health in football.
The digital conversation took place following the Duke of Cambridge’s latest initiative, which founded the Mentally Healthy Football Declaration, in line with the ambitions of the latest Heads Up campaign. Earlier in the year, William had already announced that he would join several stars from the football world, including the famous footballer Alex Scott, in the name of mental health. The initiative culminated in a film for the Heads Up campaign. The statement issued by William, signed by the leaders of the football community, is a written promise that ensures that British football leagues will make mental health a priority at all levels of the game, future.
During the video conversation, the group discussed how mental health stigmas have changed in recent years. Beckham reflected on one of the biggest regrets in his career – receiving a red card during the 1998 World Cup in a game between England and Argentina, – and how, if social media existed at that time, the effects on his mental health would probably have , been very different. “I made a mistake in 98 and the reaction at the time was quite brutal. If social media existed when I was going through that time, it would have been a completely different story,” said Beckham. “But I was lucky, I had a support system within Manchester United, the manager, and obviously the family. But did I feel at the time that it was okay to go to someone and say I needed help? No, because it was a different time “.
England and Manchester City player Steph Houghton also participated in the conversation, adding that he believes that showing vulnerability makes someone a better leader. “As a leader, I try to be this person who is always strong and always very positive, but the reality is that sometimes there are also bad days. (…) Maybe one day you will have a bad day, be a little down or maybe you will not have played as well as you can, it’s okay to show it. “