Prince Harry speaks openly about seeking counselling.
Prince Harry has spoken candidly in a rare interview about being near "complete breakdown" whilst dealing with the grief of losing his mother, Princess Diana.
The prince sought counselling after going through two years of "total chaos" in his 20s, he told The Telegraph in an interview for a new podcast.
The interviewer, Bryony Gordon, said she was floored by Prince Harry’s honesty and the straightforward way he spoke about his struggles with mental health.
The conversation — which just sounds like a casual chat over a cup of tea — is a rare insight into the life and mind of a member of the royal family.
Prince Harry, 32, lost his mother in a car crash when he was 12 years old. He "shut down all his emotions" for nearly two decades, despite his brother Prince William trying to persuade him to seek help.
"My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help?" he said.
"(I thought) it’s only going to make you sad, it’s not going to bring her back. So from an emotional side, I was like ‘right, don’t ever let your emotions be part of anything.’"
He realised that he had never dealt with the grief and he needed help.
"Some of the best people or easiest people to speak to is a shrink or whoever – the Americans call them shrinks – someone you have never met before.
"You sit down on the sofa and say ‘listen, I don’t actually need your advice. Can you just listen’. And you just let it all rip," he said.
Image: Tim Graham/Getty Images
Prince Harry with his mother in July 1986.
As a coping strategy he advises taking up a hobby or sport, instead of trying to take things out of your life. He said that boxing "really saved me because I was on the verge of punching someone."
The interview is part of the publicity for Heads Together, the charity the prince has set up along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to promote positive mental wellbeing. Heads Together is the charity of the year for the London Marathon on April 23.
On Monday morning (also a bank holiday for Easter), Prince Harry was the trending topic in the UK. The interview seemed to resonate with so many people because, as Gordon herself explains it in an essay about the interview, "in Britain, we don’t talk about our feelings. We have bitten our lips, slapped on rictus grins, kept buggering on."
"He has shown the world that talking about your problems is nothing to be ashamed of – that actually, it is something to be positively encouraged. And I can think of no more fitting tribute to his mother than that," Gordon wrote.
Many people commented on social media about the interview.
Good on Prince Harry for this, loss like this is huge and people have a hard time talking about it https://t.co/R8e4EbIbgI
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) April 17, 2017
So happy Prince Harry has spoken so openly about his mental health. Reminds you that it is not something you face alone. Many can relate.
— Jasmin♡ (@jasbooni) April 17, 2017
The entire podcast is well worth a listen, and you can find it here.