Prince William tackles mental health stigma in new documentary: 'It’s OK to not be OK'

Elise Solé
Prince William is encouraging men to open up about mental health in a new BBC show. (Photo: Jacob King/PA Wire/Getty Images)

A new BBC documentary titled Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health explores the Duke of Cambridge’s mission to end mental health stigma for men.

The trailer, published Saturday on YouTube, depicts Prince William talking candidly with a group of men. “You can’t be ashamed of your mental health,” he says in the clip. “You’ve got to be able to look it in the eye and go, ‘I’m going to deal with it. Here we go.’”

One man in the trailer says, “It’s notoriously what men do. Just say, ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’” Another tells the prince, “I just could not see a way out.”

“It’s about being confident enough to say, ‘Things aren’t great,’” says William, 37. “It’s OK to not be OK.”

The May 28 documentary examines why men traditionally struggle to discuss their emotions and cites suicide as a big concern for those who don’t open up, per the BBC website.

“Former England goalkeeper Joe Hart explains how he has learnt to cope with difficulties at the very top of the game, and a group of bereaved fathers reveal how they use their local football team as a support network and safe space to talk,” reads the website. “Former Premier League footballer Marvin Sordell opens up about his struggles with depression, while Chelsea manager Frank Lampard compares life now with his early experiences of professional football.”

In 2016, Prince William, his wife Kate Middleton and his brother Prince Harry launched Heads Together, a popular campaign supported by Lady Gaga, who has revealed her struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2017, the “Million Reasons” singer chatted with Prince William over FaceTime about normalizing the need for mental help. And in May 2019, the royals launched the Heads Up campaign, a partnership with The Football Association in England.

This past April, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge jointly discussed mental health, describing the coronavirus lockdown as "pressure, stress and isolation" in a video call with the BBC, while sympathizing with frontline workers. William also opened up about him and Harry’s father Prince Charles’s COVID-19 diagnosis from March.

“But my father has had many chest infections, colds...and so I thought to myself, if anybody is going to be able to beat this, it’s going to be him,” William said on the call. Last month, Charles, 71, appeared well enough to help with the remote opening of a COVID-19 hospital in London, reported the Associated Press, after self-isolating.

Prince Harry, 35, who recently moved to Los Angeles with his wife Meghan Markle and their 1-year-old son Archie, was involved with HeadFIT (part of Heads Together), a mental health resource website. And for the 2019 documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Harry shared his ongoing grief over the 1997 death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales. He also described the walls of fame as the “worst reminder of her life” referring to the public obsession with Diana.

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