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The Duke of Cambridge had a frank conversation with David Beckham this week regarding mental health, a cause that Prince William has championed for a number of years now. The two friends spoke candidly about their experiences with mental health and how to talk to their children about mental health.
The former footballer told the Prince in a video call about how he’s making sure his children are prepared to talk about their mental health, and not to hide away from the prospect of opening up if they need help.
He said: “I’m the one who is preaching to my kids and also other kids that I talk to out there that it’s really important to talk, it’s really important to say if you’re not okay, because like you’ve said that this time more than any time, there’ll be a lot of sportsmen, a lot of footballers that have had four or five months off that are coming back into the game that have been anxious over this time.
“We all know now it’s okay not to be okay and it’s okay to say that, it’s okay to come out and say ‘I need help’.”
Prince William has long been candid with the public about his mental health, being heavily involved with several causes and doing publicity rounds to raise awareness.
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The Duke of Cambridge also runs his own mental health charity called Heads Up.
He recently led a documentary on the BBC called Football, Prince William and our Mental Health.
He began to struggle after the death of his mother, Princess Diana, describing his loss in the documentary as a “pain like no other”.
He also revealed becoming a father reawakened feelings and traumas he experienced when he suddenly lost his mother.
He said: “Having children is the biggest life-changing moment, it really is.
“I think when you’ve been through something traumatic in life – your emotions come back in leaps and bounds because it’s a very different phase of life.
“And there’s no one there to, kind of, help you, and I definitely found it very, at times, overwhelming.”
He and his brother Prince Harry have both played an important role through their charitable work in promoting the importance of good mental health and trying to remove the stigma surrounding it.
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As part of his Heads Up campaign, which has been running for a number of years, Prince William chatted with former England captain David, England and Manchester City Women’s captain Steph Houghton, Aston Villa and England’s Tyrone Mings, Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend and Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti.
The conversation followed the announcement football associations and clubs across the country have signed a joint declaration, committing to make mental health a key priority across the sport.
William also asked David, 45, who recently became the co-owner of a football franchise in Miami, about his infamous sending off in the 1998 World Cup and how it affected his confidence when he was only 23.
David said: “When I look back on it now, I didn’t realise how hard it was but I just remember the times where I faced adversity throughout my career, ‘98 was by far the toughest.
“I think I went through that at a very young age.
“I made a mistake, you know, I made a mistake in ‘98 and the reaction at the time was pretty brutal.”
David was referring to his red card when he lashed out at Diego Simeone at the World Cup.
A burning effigy of him was strung up during the height of the backlash.
The footballer continued: “I was constantly criticised on the pitch verbally.
“But like I said at the start of this, times have changed.
“If social media was around when I was going through that time in ‘98, it would have been a whole different story.”
He added: “But I was lucky. I had a support system within Manchester United and the manager and obviously family, but did I feel at the time it was okay to ask someone and say, ‘I need help’?
“I would say no, no, it was a different era and I just felt I had to keep it all in and deal with it myself.”
The FA Cup Final, renamed the Heads Up FA Cup Final this year, will take place on Saturday between Arsenal and Chelsea.
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