Prince William to appear in BBC mental health documentary about soccer

By Heather Cichowski, with files from Zach Harper

Mental health is an important subject for many members of the Royal Family, including Prince William. In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week in the United Kingdom (May 18-24), the father of three will appear on a BBC One mental health documentary centred on soccer and men's mental health.

The film, Tackling Mental Health with The Duke of Cambridge, will see William meet with people from all areas of soccer, from current and former players to managers. It will also reportedly feature a group of bereaved fathers who use their local football team and its support network as a safe space to have open conversations.

The duke, who serves as the President of the Football Association (FA), met with people over a year-long period, including Aston Villa and England defender Tyrone Mings and Chelsea F.C. manager Frank Lampard.

The timing of William's soccer documentary couldn't be more important considering the coronavirus pandemic.

William at the launch of a new Heads Up mental health campaign at Wembley Stadium on May 15, 2019 in London. Photo: © Chris Jackson - WPA Pool /Getty Images

"Mental health is important — and during this pandemic more important than ever. Many people may be struggling alone, they may be worried about maintaining their own well-being or want to better equip themselves to help loved ones," BBC Director General Tony Hall said, according to Deadline.

"That's why bringing mental health issues out into the open is so important," he said, adding. "Our programmes aim to do just that.”

The latest mental health documentary follows 2019's A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health. Similar to the forthcoming film, the BBC One special featured soccer legends and the future King discussing mental health and sport.

MORE: Duchess Kate and Prince William announce mental health initiative for frontline workers

William and Duchess Kate used soccer, one of Britain's favourite pastimes, to foster conversations about mental health in an August 2019 campaign for their Heads Up initiative. It was a collaboration between Heads Up and the Football Association with a goal to "spark the biggest conversation ever around mental health,” according to the FA’s website.

William chatted with people who had benefited from Heads Up's services at a London pub in Oct. 2019. Photo: © Chris Jackson/Getty Images

In January, it was reported William would be part of a mental health-related public service announcement intended to be played at British stadiums and on broadcasts during FA Cup Third Round matches this year.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been active with mental health initiatives as the world battles COVID-19. Last week, they helped launch Our Frontline, which will provide 24-hour support to health care workers, emergency service providers, those who work as carers and others during this time, giving them fast and easy access to mental health services.

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Today @MindCharity, @SamaritansCharity, @GiveUsAShoutInsta, @Hospice_UK, and The Royal Foundation have come together to provide round-the-clock mental health support to frontline workers. Each of these organisations will be providing expertise in their relative field, to support the extraordinary people on the frontline responding to COVID-19 in the UK, and supporting the mental health sector as it responds to the immediate and long-term mental health consequences of the pandemic. So what does this mean? This means trained volunteers will be on hand, by call or text, as well as specially developed online resources, toolkits, and advice to support the frontline community’s mental health through this challenging time. Visit @OurFrontlineUk to learn more about #OurFrontline.

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The project has the involvement of British charities Mind, Samaritans, Hospice UK and the Shout text messaging service, which was started by the Cambridges and Sussexes in 2019. Our Frontline will be backed by The Royal Foundation.

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