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  1. ITV Report

Prince William launches campaign using football to encourage men to talk about their mental health

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia

Prince William today launched a new mental health campaign with football at the heart of it.

The Duke of Cambridge said he wanted to use the sport to encourage more men to discuss depression.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 and Prince William said he hoped the initiative would show how support from a team, at any level, can encourage players to open up.

Football did prove to be a lifeline for James Casling, a player for Queen's Park Rangers mental health team.

His father killed himself on his 15th birthday and James has attempted suicide several times. He told ITV News, playing football has changed his life for the better.

The Duke of Cambridge met grassroots football players, coaches and fans from clubs across the country at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.

A video supporting the campaign and featuring the Duke and England manager Gareth Southgate was also shown at the launch.

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The initiative will support work already taking place across the UK to end stigma around mental health.

In a speech, Prince William said: "Football fans tend to be obsessed with physical health in the game. We can spend hours in the pub talking about the injuries back our club's top players.

Prince William speaks to football players at today's Wembley launch. Credit: Pool

"And those of us who like to play ourselves get pretty concerned about how we maintain our own fitness. Some share stories of injuries picked up in our youth, which of course were the only thing that held us back from a very glittering career on the pitch...But when it comes to our mental health, we - and by us I men in particular - often have nothing to say at all."

Throughout the 2019/20 season, the campaign will be visible across all levels of football in England – through the men’s and women’s England teams, FA competitions, and grassroots.

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