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Prince William Calls On Athletes To Create A "Mentally Healthy Culture" In Sports

Prince William Calls On Athletes To Create "Lasting Change" And "Mentally Healthy Culture" In Sports
June 15, 2020 - 18:49 / Hayley Paskevich

A known advocate of the importance of sports and mental health, Prince William shared his thoughts on the topic in a special roundtable discussion. Find out what he said here!

Prince William wants to keep the ball rolling when it comes to acknowledging mental health within the sporting world! As People shares, William partook in a video call roundtable discussion earlier this week, where he talked to professional athletes as well as Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Not only did the athletes who were involved in the call— such as Alex Scott, Jonny Wilkinson, Dame Sarah Storey, and Lizzy Yarnold— address how prioritizing mental health had positively impacted their own careers, they also talked with William about what those involved in sport can do to help the general public as lockdown eases.

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Prince William talks about how Heads Up campaign has helped

William spoke about his campaign that directly addresses the correlation between soccer and mental health— the Heads Up initiative— during the call.

"Through the Heads Up campaign, the football community has come together to do its part in driving lasting change by encouraging people to open up about their mental wellbeing," William said, "at the same time as embedding a mentally healthy culture across the sport."

"I believe that there is more we can do collectively to ensure this is replicated across all of sport. And that is why I am so happy to be here with you all to discuss how we can make that a reality." 

Prince William's Heads Up campaign was also featured in a recently released BBC documentary, and as People mentions, it will be culminating at the FA Cup Final, which is currently slated for August 1.

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Prince William is the first royal to address to COVID-19 crisis publicly.

William says the pandemic has created "a unique opportunity"

William also explained why the coronavirus crisis has opened the door to important mental health discussions. "We have a unique opportunity to use the tragedy of the pandemic to bring about positive change," he said. "As the sporting world begins to return it is vital that we talk about the mental wellbeing of our sportspeople and fans." 

Dowden voiced his agreement with the royal, acknowledging the impact of the coronavirus on people's mental health. "Looking after our mental health is as important as our physical health, particularly through the pandemic which has brought about additional stress and change," he said.

"The resumption of sport behind closed doors coincides with many people returning to work too, so it’s a good time to make sure everyone knows support is available."

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge gestures during a visit to Everton Football Club's official charity, Liverpool, 2020

William credited for "leading a generational shift" in attitude

William was lauded by Dowden during the call for his efforts in addressing mental health through sport. "It was great to be joined by HRH the Duke of Cambridge, mental health organizations and some of the biggest names in British sport to talk about mental health," Dowden said.

"Sport is leading the way in this important conversation, and I pay tribute to football and the Duke for leading a generational shift to attitudes on mental health." As People shares, it was also revealed earlier this month that William has been a volunteer for crisis line Shout85258, helping support those who find themselves in a crisis at any time.