PSHE GCSE: HRH The Duke of Cambridge’s Mental Health Campaign

Advisory: Contains material of a sensitive nature

The film focuses on men’s mental health through the prism of football and follows the Duke of Cambridge over several months, during his mental health awareness campaign.

It shows the Duke as he meets players, fans and managers from the grassroots to the elite level of football.

In the film, the Duke discusses the need for more people to talk about their mental health and break the stigma surrounding it.

He also discusses difficult issues like suicide.

Teacher Notes

  • This film is suitable for 14-16 year olds, but because it addresses some challenging issues we strongly advise making yourself very familiar with the content before using it and considering carefully whether it will be appropriate and suitable for your specific cohort.

  • Check class records to see if any of your class have any mental health issues or have personal/lived experience of the topics raised, and consider the best action/support for them in advance.

  • Check Government guidance on teaching about mental health along with your school policies to make sure you follow these guidelines/protocols and talk to a member of the SLT if you are in doubt about anything before you teach.

  • Whether you choose to lead a discussion, do an activity or a combination of both, always start your session by setting up a working agreement with the class. Creating a list of rules will make sure everyone feels safe and able to talk and join in without being judged.

Points for discussion

  • What does taboo mean? One definition is, something that society finds uncomfortable to talk about. Why does HRH The Duke of Cambridge say that getting people to talk about their feelings is a taboo? What does he mean when he says he wants to ‘chip away’ at the taboo?

  • HRH The Duke of Cambridge says, ‘Men seem to have a real issue when it comes to mental health and opening up and being able to talk about stuff.’ Why do you think boys/men don’t talk so much about their feelings? Where does this come from?

  • Suicide is one of the biggest killers of men under 45. How does this statistic connect with the need to talk? How could talking about our feelings help prevent suicide? (You could explore the importance and value of communication and sharing our feelings with others further by researching the values of this this ahead of the lesson using reputable websites.)

Suggested activities:

  • Project: Could you be the generation to stop the taboo around talking about feelings? This could be a class, year group or whole school project. Encourage pupils to think back to what HRH The Duke of Cambridge said about the importance of being able to talk to each other about our feelings. Tell the children to think about their class and rate themselves out of 10 for how open they think are with each other about their more vulnerable or difficult feelings. Do they feel they are supportive to each other in terms of their mental health? Would they know if someone was struggling? How? What would they do about it? Is this aspect of health taken seriously? As seriously as physical health? Get them to discuss each question and mark themselves (as a class) out of 10 for each – they need to agree as a whole class team then they will see what needs to change. (Depending on your cohort you could choose to do this as an anonymous vote.)

  • Once they have honestly evaluated themselves, they can consider the action required: How is it going to change? What needs to change? How can they make it achievable? The planning can now begin – they can decide on two to three achievable things to begin with and build a class charter, and an agreement to commit to this and find times and ways to connect and share feelings with each other each week (possibly in PSHE or tutor groups or run by students depending on your cohort). Maybe you could build a class plan for an academic year and they could commit to support each other. If they feel their communication around their mental health is better after the first year, they could build on it further. Finally, how can they spread the word and encourage more young people to join them?

  • At the end of the discussion/activity, always check in with the group to make sure they are OK, revisit the working agreement and remind them to talk to someone if anything they have seen in the film or discussed has made them feel uncomfortable. Finally, always signpost where they can get further support or information both within and outside of school. ChildLine is there for people right up to the age of 19 for support. Students can also find out more about Heads Together and find links to further support on their Get support page.)

Curriculum Notes

These lessons will fit within: Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education in England
Curriculum for Wales, Health and wellbeing in Wales*
The Curriculum for Excellence, Health and wellbeing in Scotland
Northern Ireland Curriculum, Learning for life and work in Northern Ireland

More from this series

Rob: Living with bereavement
video
Matthew: Living with anxiety
video
Nick: Living with anxiety
video
Joe Hart: Managing the pressures of the Premier League
video
Marvin Sordell: Living with depression
video