Prince Harry opened up about his mental health struggles
The INSIDER Summary:
- Prince Harry lost his mother, Princess Diana, when he was only 12 years old.
- On a recent podcast, he revealed that he struggled with his mental health because he buried his grief.
- Finally, he sought help and learned a healthy way to process his emotions.
- He said addressing his mental health helped him find "a much better way of life."
The members of the royal family tend to keep a lid on their innermost secrets. Granted, sometimes t he media gets a hold of those secrets anyway— but it's rare for a royal to freely admit them to the public.
That's what made Prince Harry's recent interview on a mental health podcast so fascinating.
Harry was invited as the inaugural guest on a new podcast called Mad World, hosted by journalist Bryony Gordon. In the episode, he spoke briefly about Heads Together, the mental health awareness campaign he co-launched with William and Kate.
But Harry spent the bulk of the interview opening up about his personal struggle with mental health, triggered by the sudden loss of his mother, Princess Diana, back in 1997.
Prince Harry with Princess Diana in 1987. AP/John Redman
"I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12 and then shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life, but also my work as well," he said. "My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because [I thought], why would that help? It's only going to make you sad. It's not going to bring her back."
Harry revealed that his brother, Prince William, encouraged him to seek help.
"My brother — bless him — he was a huge support to me and kept saying, 'This is not right, this is not normal. You need to talk about this stuff.'" he said.
Prince William, Prince Harry, and their father, Prince Charles, at Diana's funeral in 1997. AP/Joel Robine, Pool
Finally, Harry sought professional counseling ("more than a couple times," he admitted with a laugh) and began confiding in his friends. He spent a rough few years unraveling his unacknowledged grief.
"It was 20 years of not thinking about it and two years of total chaos," he said. "And I couldn't put my finger on it. I didn't know what was wrong with me."
Today, he said, he's finally comfortable talking about his emotions with other people — a change that led to "a much better way of life," with an improved ability to focus on his charity work. For example, he said that he never would have been able to launch the Invictus Games— his international sporting event for wounded and injured members of the military — had he not made the decision to address his mental health.
Prince Harry speaks to the media at the launch of the Invictus Games in 2014. AP/Sang Tan
Above all, he stressed his desire to normalize conversations about mental health — and it's nice to know he's leading by example.
"There's huge merit in talking about your issues," Harry continued. "Keeping it quiet ... is only ever going to make it worse, not just for you but everybody else around you as well, because you become a problem. Through a lot of my 20s, I was a problem, and I didn't know how to deal with it."
The full podcast is well worth a listen.
Video: Prince Harry On Opening Up About His Mental Health
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