The Duke of Cambridge said he wants football clubs to “aspire to be much better” around the issue of mental health in the future.
William spoke about the issue ahead of the Heads Up FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea on Saturday, which he was watching from the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.
Speaking to the BBC, the duke also revealed how his nerves “were the worst he’s ever known them” as he watched his club Aston Villa secure their Premier League status on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against West Ham.
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) August 1, 2020
Asked about his Heads Up campaign, William said: “We started back last year thinking that to build the momentum around mental health, to be able to talk about more freely and openly, we need to use a vehicle that huge power and huge potential.
“And we realised that football has got that ability for every person up and down the country, all around the world to really relate to and understand, so we thought why not have the biggest conversation around mental health using football as that tool, and we have been really pleased with the response.”
The duke said the campaign, which has been encouraging football fans to talk about issues in their lives, had been built on “other people’s good work”.
He said he hoped the legacy from the initiative would make “mentally healthy clubs look at themselves and want to aspire to be that much better”.
Speaking about Villa’s draw at West Ham on Sunday, the duke said: “The nerves were the worst I’ve ever known them.
“My children looked at me in horror as I was jumping off the sofa, screaming my head off.
“It’s very good news that as president of the FA that I can hide away until these moments, and I’m not visibly seen because it was one of the most stressful moments of my life, as I imagine every Villa fan felt on that day.
“But I’m very proud of everything the club has done this year and look forward to next season.”