Prince Harry's mental health comments spark debate: 'No idea'

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Prince Harry has opened up about his personal mental health journey in a candid online discussion for the mental wellness app, BetterUp.

The prince, who is Chief Impact Officer for the San Francisco-based company, chatted freely about experiencing 'burnout,' maintaining a work-life balance and his own self-care routine.

Prince Harry speaks during a live stream for BetterUp's 'Inner Work Day' online event. Photo: BetterUp.
Prince Harry opened up about his mental health during a live stream for BetterUp's 'Inner Work Day' online event. Photo: BetterUp.

Duke's mental health admission

The duke, 37, told his fellow live stream panelists BetterUp CEO, Alexi Robichaux, and tennis icon Serena Williams, that he himself has been pushed to the point of exhaustion in the past.

"I experienced burnout... I was burning the candle at both ends and that is when you're forced to look inside yourself," he said.

"The only way you can really combat it and really build resilience for the outside world is the inner work," he added.

Harry went on to urge employers to allow their staff the time to do the 'inner work' while on the clock if it's not possible outside of work hours.

"From an employer's perspective, you can't expect - in today's world - people to put in the work on themselves if you're not giving them the time to be able to do that.

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"It's so important as employers to say if you have the chance to do it in your own spare time that's fantastic, but we are going to factor that into your routine at work. If everybody was doing that, the shift in global consciousness and awareness would be enormous."

The prince went on to admit that self-care is the first thing that 'drops away' when he is feeling burnt-out and to remedy that he factors 'white space' into his diary each morning.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 10: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the 2021 Salute To Freedom Gala at Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on November 10, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (pictured at a New York City event in November 2021) stepped back as senior royals two years ago. Photo: Getty Images.

"I now put in 30 minutes, 45 minutes every morning where it's like OK, one of the kids is at school, the other is taking a nap, there's a break in our program."

Harry devotes that time to working out, taking the dog for a walk, meditating or simply getting out into nature.

The former soldier stressed the importance of meditation for his mental well-being, saying that he needs to meditate 'every single day'.

"Most people listening will think 'But I don't have the time'," he said. "The good thing is, you can make time. And if you don't have time, you probably need to make time even more."

Harry sparks outrage: 'No idea'

The Duke of Sussex's comments have earned a mixed response on social media, with some royal watchers scoffing at his 'advice' for 'ordinary working people'.

"The whole notion that Prince Harry is giving ordinary working people advice is a joke," a Twitter user remarked.

"He has no idea what it's like to work hard, work your way up, or go without. Everything has been handed to this cry baby, who denounced his royal position, but cashes in on his name," they concluded.

"As spoken by a chap with no actual idea what daily work actually means," added another while a third simply wrote, "Work!?"

Others defended Harry, with one supporter arguing that 'stress is subjective' and that the prince would've experienced 'intense pressure' since birth.

"Stress is subjective, surely if you haven't walked in someone's shoes you cannot comment. The intense pressure that he must feel for being born in the Royal Family must be huge. There is enough hatred in the world already. Can't people give it a rest with them," they wrote.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 05, 2020 in London, England. Photo: Getty Images.
The royal couple has landed several paid jobs since settling in the US. Photo: Getty Images.

Others still were simply thrilled to see the father-of-two looking so 'healthy' and 'happy' since leaving the UK.

"How handsome is Harry, he looks younger, happy and healthy. So good to see," gushed a fan.

"Fatherhood, husbandhood and that Cali life suits him!" added another.

Since stepping back as a working royal two years ago, the Duke of Sussex has landed several paid jobs to support his new life in California his wife, Meghan Markle, and their two children.

His role at Silicon Valley start-up BetterUp was announced in March 2021 and is rumoured to entail a six-figure salary.

Harry and Meghan, 40, were both appointed 'impact officers' at US ethical money manager, Ethic Investment, however, the company did not disclose how much the pair would be paid for their advice.

Soon after their move to Los Angeles, the couple also inked multi-million dollar deals with media giants Netflix and Spotify.

Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

Online support is available via Beyond Blue.

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