It’s taken Prince Harry nearly 20 years to unpack some very complex feelings.
In 2016, a few members of the royal family got together and made a viral video promoting a mental health awareness campaign.
The video for the campaign, called Heads Together, is super cute and got a lot of positive attention at the time.
A year later, we’ve finally learned more about what inspired the royals to speak out.
Prince Harry opened up about his own mental health in an interview with The Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon and shared how it was shaped by his mother’s sudden death when he was just 12. He also shared what finally led him to seek treatment over a decade after her passing. While the specific details — being in the spotlight from a young age, losing a parent — are unique to Harry’s specific situation, his approach to addressing his mental health is super relatable.
For Harry, it was a combination of counseling, boxing, and being willing to listen to his older brother’s advice.
In the interview, Harry confesses that he has “probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions,” but it wasn’t until his brother and others close to him stepped in to urge him to find help that he was able to put himself on a path for success.
There’s no single “fix” for depression, anxiety, or any other mental health challenges. It’s never as simple as saying, “OK, go take this pill and you’ll feel better” or “Seeing a counselor will fix you up.” Finding your own unique solution to mental wellness is often trial and error; thankfully, Harry found what worked for him.
He hopes that being open about his experiences will help others feel less alone.
“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,” he explained.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 300 million people around the world are affected by depression. Another 60 million live with bipolar affective disorder, 21 million with schizophrenia, and 47.5 million with dementia.
No one is immune to mental illness.
“I know there is huge merit in talking about your issues, and the only thing about keeping it quiet is that it’s only ever going to make it worse,” Harry said in the interview. “Not just for you but everybody else around you as well because you become a problem. I, through a lot of my 20s, was a problem, and I didn’t know how to deal with it.”
If you or someone you know struggles with mental illness, you can get help. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a website dedicated to mental health issues, and of course, there’s Heads Together, the U.K. organization behind last year’s video.
Harry’s entire interview with Gordon is worth checking out, and the full 27-minute version can be streamed below.