The Duke of Cambridge is teaming up with legendary football players for a discussion on men’s mental health and the need to normalise the conversation.
The programme, titled ‘A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health,’ will air on BBC One on 19 May, with William chatting to footballers Peter Crouch, Danny Rose, Thierry Henry, Jermaine Jenas, and Gareth Southgate.
“Men are the hardest to reach audience on the subject of mental health,” says the Duke of Cambridge, who is President of the Football Association. “Suicide is the biggest killer of young men under the age of 45, and that’s an appalling statistic.
“There needs to be a turning point where we can pass the message onto men everywhere that it’s okay to talk about mental health. We have to normalise the whole conversation.”
Southgate says that “We’ve got to try to help and support each other. Football generally has had a culture of maybe not opening up about anything in your life, without being seen as being weak for doing that.
“I think it’s key that that isn’t a weakness, it’s actually a strength that you’re confident enough to talk about those things openly.”
The conversation was filmed earlier in May at the Cambridge United Football Club, where the ‘team’ spoke about everything from depression, racism, career-ending injuries, and emotional pressures, per the BBC media release, as a way to change the conversation on men’s mental health.
Four football fans were invited to the club to talk about their own mental health, and they also had a chance to meet the footballers.
Jermaine Jenas says that “My biggest hope for this is that a conversation will be had. The rate of male suicide has gone through the roof, so it’s great that we’re having this chat.”
“We’ve got to relax a little bit and talk about our emotions because we’re not robots,” William says in a short clip posted to the BBC’s Twitter account.
The programme airs on 19 May, but extra footage will be shown on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday 15 May, and on Football Focus ahead of the FA Cup Final on 18 May.