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Heads Up: Stars highlight the importance of talking

8 Feb 2020

The Duke of Cambridge kicks off a conversation about mental health over a game of Jenga with players from men's and women's football

As part of the Heads Up campaign The Duke of Cambridge joined Premier League, EFL and Women's Super League stars for a game of Jenga - with a difference.

Drawing on their own experiences on and off the football pitch, Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend, Watford's Troy Deeney, Manchester United's Scott McTominay, Wycombe Wanderers' Adebayo Akinfenwa and former Arsenal women's player Kelly Smith shared personal anecdotes as they opened up about how they manage pressure.

They also discussed with The Duke the importance of talking and why mental health should no longer be a taboo subject.

While playing Jenga, Townsend revealed how a meaningful 'How are you?' from his manager helped him return to scoring on the pitch and Deeney reflected on personal tragedy and the power of talking.

'Being more open'

"Part of this is all about just being more open about how we feel and just being able to talk about those feelings and everyone not shying away," The Duke of Cambridge said.

"I think we're quite modest in this country, we don't want to delve, we don't want to upset, we don't want to offend anyone, so therefore we don't really ask.

"And actually we've got to be a bit more punchy and say, how are you doing, and do you want to talk a bit more about that?"

The film was created to help launch the 'Heads Up Weekends', which will involve football uniting over the next two weekends in a bid to kick off the biggest ever conversation around mental health.

Over the next two weekends, every football team from across the Premier League, English Football League, The National League, the Barclays FA Women's Super League, The FA Women's Championship and the FA Women's National League will dedicate their matches to the Heads Up campaign to raise awareness of the importance of talking about mental health.

Fans are encouraged to visit HeadsTogether for tips on how to #KickOffAConversation about mental health.

See: How clubs backed Heads Up Weekends

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