Prince Harry Once Opened up about 20-Year Mental Health Issues He Suffered after Mom's Death
Just as most members of the British royal family, Prince Harry has been making headlines ever since he was born. He caught people by surprise when he opened up about his mental health issues, though.
During a 2017 interview with Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon for her podcast "Heads Together," Prince Harry confessed that his problems began when he was 12 years old after his mother, Princess Diana, passed away in a car accident.
"Once you start talking about it, you realize that actually you're part of quite a big club."
PRINCESS DIANA'S DEATH
The People's Princess passed away on August 31, 1997, in a hospital in Paris following a car crash in a tunnel. Diana's then-boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed and the vehicle's driver Henri Paul also died.
One of the most shocking aspects of the accident is that paparazzi contributed to it as they wouldn't stop following the car.
Talking to Bryony, the Prince confessed that he decided to shut down all his emotions regarding Diana's passing for almost two decades, no matter how many times Prince William tried to convince him to seek help.
According to Harry, William was "huge support" as he kept telling him that what he was feeling was not normal and that it was okay to talk about it. It was not the right time, though, as Harry needed to learn it himself.
PRINCE HARRY DEALING WITH GRIEF
Harry also said that, for years, he had panic and rage attacks, adding that his life was a "total chaos" for two years. It wasn't until Prince Harry was 28 years old that he finally decided to contact a professional and talk about his grief.
He admitted, though, that he did it only after feeling "on the verge of punching someone" due to the rage attacks and dealing with anxiety in the middle of royal engagements. He even said that he didn't know what was "wrong" with him.
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Spotlight on: Endeavour Fund Today we are taking a look back at the amazing work done by the @EndeavourFund, an organisation created by The Duke of Sussex to support the Armed Forces community. HRH was motivated by the ambitions of wounded, injured and sick (WIS) service personnel and veterans across the UK, who wanted to use sport and adventurous activity as part of their recovery. And what they choose to take on is extraordinary! These men and women break global records and set goals for those around the world - non-disabled and disabled alike, including: The first amputee to cross Greenland icecap unsupported, the first triple amputee to qualify as a rescue diver, the fastest unsupported rowing time across the Atlantic, and so many more. The endeavours they take on are inspirational, but also have a tremendous impact on their physical, emotional and social recovery, as well as a lasting effect on the family and community around them. Since launching in 2012, the Endeavour Fund has supported nearly 6,000 WIS in sport and adventure challenges. As The Duke said, “The magic of the Endeavour Fund is that it enables those who had life changing injuries in their prime, many of whom felt defeated, to use the power of sport to find a new purpose. The renewed self-belief we see in everyone who participates, and how this transforms their lives and the lives of those around them is overwhelming. Beyond that, each man or woman who participates uses their endeavour as an opportunity to raise funds for another serviceman or woman who needs the same support they once did. It’s a powerful and meaningful process that I am so proud to be a part of.” • In 2019 alone, 17 grants were submitted benefitting nearly a thousand WIS and over 200 family and friends. 198 qualifications were gained and more than 80 are back in the workforce feeling fulfilled and with a renewed sense of purpose. Photo © Endeavour Fund
Apart from that, Meghan Markle's husband remarked that he was "very close" to having a breakdown on different occasions while being in the public eye. He added:
"I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well."
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Today, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined Her Majesty The Queen and members of @TheRoyalFamily at the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph to commemorate and honour the men and women who have lost their lives in conflict. As shared at last night’s Festival of Remembrance, this quote embodies the sacrifice of those that serve: • “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.” • For more details of this week of Remembrance and their Royal Highness’s recognition for those who serve, please see previous posts. #WeWillRememberThem #Remembrance Photo © PA
HARRY TRIED TO AVOID THE TOPIC
Prince Harry's way of dealing with Diana's passing was avoiding the subject as much as possible. He went as far as to refuse to think about the late Princess because he considered that it would not help him.
With this method, however, he was not addressing his grief but hiding it. For that reason, all those emotions started coming to "the forefront" all of a sudden, and it made him realize that he had to deal with them.
In a way to deal with his aggressive thoughts, he started boxing and found that it was an excellent outlet for his frustration.
Ever since Harry learned that it was okay to have feelings and to talk about them honestly, he felt able to be even more dedicated to making a difference for other people. The Prince said:
"The experience I have had is that once you start talking about it, you realize that actually you're part of quite a big club."
PRINCE HARRY'S PIECE OF ADVICE
Reaching the end of the interview, Prince Harry shared a piece of advice to everybody dealing with a similar problem. He encouraged them to "have that conversation" because they would notice how much support they get and how many people are "literally are longing for you to come out."
Harry finally said that thanks to the process he had been through, he was able to take his personal and professional life more seriously.
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Both Prince Harry and Ed Sheeran want to ensure that not just today but every day, you look after yourself, your friends and those around you. There’s no need to suffer in silence - share how you’re feeling, ask how someone is doing and listen for the answer. Be willing to ask for help when you need it and know that we are all in this together. #WMHD Check out the accounts below for more resources and support: @Heads_Together @Calmzone @MentalHealthFoundation @CharityNoPanic @SamaritansCharity @YoungMindsUK @GiveUsAShoutInsta @Childline_official @LetsTalkAboutMentalHealth @Jedfoundation @Pandas_UK @Charitysane @MindCharity @TimeToChangeCampaign @RethinkMentalIllness @MentalHealthMates @ActionHappiness @MHFAEngland @DitchTheLabel @TheBlurtFoundation
It was not the only time that the Duke of Sussex made headlines with a mental health topic, though. For World Mental Health Day in 2019, he joined singer Ed Sheeran to record a fun video to raise awareness on that topic.
Nowadays, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are living in Canada with their son Archie after they stepped down as senior members of the royal family in January this year.