Prince Harry spoke of the pressures of having to “smile and endure” before launching a mental health card for the 2021 Rugby World Cup
The revolutionary initiative was described in detail by the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, ahead of the draw announced at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.
The event may be the last of full-time Prince Harry to work in real-time as the family is expected to announce new deals for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the coming days.
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Prince Harry has long supported mental health, along with his brother Prince William. The card will go into effect when the tournament starts in England in October 2021 and will focus on the mental health of players, fans, coaches and communities.
In a three-minute video that included several young players talking about the mental health toll, Harry talked about how important it was to remove the stigma surrounding the problem.
“Rugby League isn’t just a sport, it’s a community. And one who takes care of itself,” he said.
“For many years, he has been at the forefront of promoting and supporting good mental fitness, working hard to build a positive mindset for everyone involved in the sport.
“So, I am proud to support the 2021 Rugby World Cup Mental Fitness Card.”
The card will not only be for players and coaches, but will also be open to the communities that host matches during the tournament.
“This is the first time that a major international sporting event has a central card to focus on the mental fitness of the players, coaches, fans and communities that host the matches.
“This card will build on the brilliant work already underway in the Rugby League by committing to coaching and educating everyone involved in the tournament, and the wider Rugby League family, not only in how they can take care of their mental shape but also support others do the same.
“This includes organizing mental fitness seminars for eight thousand young Rugby League players and their families and training as grassroots coaches.
“And to ensure that the message is broadcast internationally, all 21 participating nations will be encouraged to bring their experiences home and develop mental fitness awareness programs within their communities.
“The perception of Rugby League is that you have to be tough, you can’t show your feelings, you have to smile and endure it.
“But something like the Mental Form Charter will help us make real progress in freeing ourselves from the stigma associated with mental illness and reminding people that it’s not just about being physically fit, but most of all being mentally strong. Thanks.”