Prince Harry Explains What Serving in the Army Taught Him About Mental Health

Prince Harry Explains What Serving in the Army Taught Him About Mental Health

In March 2021, Prince Harry announced he had taken a job as Chief Impact Officer at the mental health coaching app BetterUp, and in a statement he said that he was even using the service himself. Ever since, he has hosted events for the start-up where he urged workers to quit their jobs to improve their mental health and spoke with his friend Serena Williams, about strategies for self care. On Tuesday, he joined BetterUp’s CEO Alexi Robichaux on Masters of Scale, a podcast hosted by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and spoke about his role at the company. 

“Look, I’ll be honest, I had no idea about BetterUp before I moved to the U.S.,” the prince said. “The chief impact officer role for me at BetterUp is 100% about driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness.”

He said that moving to California helped him understand how different the American conversation about mental health is when compared to Britain. “You talk about it here in California, ‘I’ll get my therapist to call your therapist.’ Whereas in the UK it’s like, ‘Therapist? What therapist? Whose therapist? I don’t have a therapist. No, I definitely don’t, I’ve never spoken to a therapist.’”

As a part of his appearance on Masters of Scale, he went into detail on a part of his British Armed Forces career that he first referenced on a previous podcast. Back in 2017, Harry opened up about his mental health to journalist Bryony Gordon for her show Mad World. When he discussed the effect that losing his mother at age 12 had on him, mentioned his time working on the army’s Personnel Recovery Unit, where he spoke to and helped soldiers who were returning from war.

On Masters of Scale, he explains exactly what that role taught him. “I was going to a barracks in London, and as part of their personnel recovery unit, I was doing interviews, kind of, or just meetings with individuals who were suffering, mostly from psychological injuries that had either come from a physical injury or otherwise,” he said. “Listening to their stories, I started to realize parts of my own story were being mirrored or reflected in that.”

He also told the story about how seeing one soldier diagnosed with PTSD who later found recovery through skiing helped motivate him to found the Invictus Games and changed his beliefs about that common diagnosis. “That’s the power of sport. It literally has the ability to completely transform an individual,” he said. “Why do we keep calling it PTSD? Why do we keep calling it a disorder? If you’re going to turn around to someone and label them with a disorder, that’s them screwed for the rest of their life. Why are we not calling it PTSI? It should be an injury. And if you’re telling someone that they’ve got an injury, then guess what they’re going to do? They’re going to try and get better.” 


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