On the first day of The Duke of Cambridge’s week long tour of Scotland, His Royal Highness visited The Spartans FC and Community Association, where he saw the positive impact of the Heads Up ‘Mentally Healthy Football’ declaration in Scotland, and met club volunteers who helped to deliver over 83,000 food parcels to the local community during the pandemic.
The Mentally Healthy Football declaration saw the UK football family come together last year to commit to building a mentally healthy culture at all levels of the game, with clubs, leagues, and organisations joining forces to officially recognise mental health as being just as important as physical health.
In The Spartans FC Stadium, The Duke heard from members of the Scottish Football Association Board and Mental Health Advisory Panel, who spearheaded the introduction of a new mental health e-learning platform after signing the declaration in July 2020. So far, over 8,000 players, staff, managers and officials in the Scottish football community have completed their mental health awareness training through the platform.
Later in the visit The Duke tested his touch skills in a football drill with grassroots players from Scotland’s Mental Health Football and Wellbeing League, accompanied by former Scotland striker Steven Thompson. The League was set up to support recovery and tackle stigma associated with mental health, with support from the Scottish FA.
The Scottish football community has shown us over the last two days that they are working hard to create environments that encourage people to speak openly about their mental health. pic.twitter.com/UFZ1s6AJB8
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) May 22, 2021
The Duke then chatted to players representing the four national teams in a pitch side video call, to discuss their common goal of changing the conversation on mental health. Taking part in the catch-up ahead of the European Championships were David Marshall for Scotland, Harry Kane for England, Julie Nelson for Northern Ireland, and Jess Fishlock MBE for Wales.
This was the first visit of a week of engagements in The Duke’s new role as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.