The Duke of Cambridge is partnering with BBC One to produce a documentary about men’s mental health and football over the course of the 2019-20 football season.
The film project was announced on Thursday morning by BBC One as a follow-up to the successful mental health documentary called A Royal Team Talk earlier this year, which saw William chatting with famous footballers about their mental health experiences as a way to further the conversation surrounding mental health awareness.
According to BBC One, the documentary will follow William’s work and will also “tell the stories of men from right across the country who have been affected by, or are currently experiencing mental health issues.”
The release continues, saying that filming will begin in September with the first qualifying round all the way to the FA Cup Final in May.
“It will film with clubs at every leg of the FA Cup exploring initiatives to help improve mental wellbeing, from the Premier League to grassroots projects. It will follow the Duke as he undertakes a number of engagements with his ‘Heads Up’ initiative and discusses the issue with fans and footballers alike.”
Earlier this year, the Duke of Cambridge launched Heads Up, a legacy project from Heads Together, the mental health initiative that he, his wife Catherine, and brother, Prince Harry formed in 2016 to help change the conversation around mental health.
Heads Up uses the idea that if people talked about their mental health as often and as openly as football – a national passion, per the Heads Up website – then people would be more comfortable seeking help.
When Heads Up launched, William said that the goal is to “take a big step in shattering this silence. We are going to use one of the most powerful, unifying forces in our society – football – to start the biggest ever conversation on mental health.”
Men’s suicide rates are three times higher than women’s, and the focus on men’s mental health is very important to the Duke. The upcoming documentary will “highlight the fact that we all have mental health and encourage more men to feel comfortable talking about their mental health, and feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times.”
A Royal Team Talk aired in May, and according to viewership figures from the BBC, 78% of British television audiences were aware of the BBC mental health season programming – a host of content about mental health – and 80% “felt more confident in knowing how to get help having watched.”
“With suicide still the biggest killer of men under 45 it’s crucial that we normalise conversations about mental health. Our mental health season earlier in the year and the film, A Royal Team Talk had significant impact, with many more people opening up and contacting mental health charities,” said Alison Kirkham, BBC Controller of Factual Programming.
“I’m proud that, working once again with the Duke of Cambridge and the FA, we can use the power of football to continue to raise awareness of an issue that is so important to our audience.”