Prince Harry has been a vocal advocate for mental health awareness throughout adulthood, inspired in-part by his and Prince William’s personal struggles after losing their mother, Princess Diana, when they were just 12 and 15 years old.
Now, the Duke of Sussex is taking his hard-won emotional wisdom and teaming up with TV queen Oprah Winfrey to co-create and produce a series on mental health for the AppleTV+ service. He announced the news Wednesday via Instagram.
“I truly believe that good mental health — mental fitness — is the key to powerful leadership, productive communities and a purpose-driven self,” the Royal Instagrammer writes. “It is a huge responsibility to get this right as we bring you the facts, the science and the awareness of a subject that is so relevant during these times. I am incredibly proud to be working alongside Oprah on this vital series.”
For years the Duke has lead campaigns to “break the stigma” around addressing mental health in the UK — a culture known for being less than forthcoming with their emotions.
In a podcast interview with the Telegraph in 2017, Harry opened up about the difficult years following Diana’s passing:
“My way of dealing with it was refusing to ever think about my mum because why would that help? It’s only going to make you sad. It’s not going to bring her back. It was 20 years of not thinking about it and then two years of total chaos.”
Meanwhile, healthcare officials at the National Health Service in the UK recently launched the hashtag #MyMentalHealthIs, and it’s just one of many social media movements aimed at keeping the mental health conversation going, with users sharing some of the most personal and sometimes upsetting aspects of their affliction.
“It’s great to see that #MyMentalHealthIs trending because it shows that the stigma around talking about it is slowly disappearing #mentalhealth,” writes YouTube personality Chris Hughes.
“#MyMentalHealthIs boosted by 30mg of Citalopram,” says UK-based writer Rachel Hawkins, nothing that her treatment with an SSRI medication has helped.
The as-yet named series is set to air in 2020, and is part of multi-year content partnership between Apple and Winfrey. In multi-part documentary format, the show will look not only at the struggle of mental illness, but what it takes to maintain mental wellness, “to equip ourselves with the tools to not simply survive, but to thrive.”
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