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Fresh from his return to the United States after the success of the fifth Invictus Games competition, Prince Harry is keeping the conversation surrounding injury and mental health going.
On a new episode of LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman’s podcast, Masters of Scale, Harry opened up about the differences between mental health taboos in America and the United Kingdom, and why more focus needs to go on mental fitness.
“You talk about it here in California, ‘I’ll get my therapist to call your therapist.’ Whereas in the U.K., 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,'” he told Hoffman, who has often spoken about the importance of investing in the mental health and resilience of future entrepreneurs.
Speaking alongside Alexi Robichaux, CEO of professional coaching platform BetterUp, Harry also touched on the importance of shifting the language and mindset around mental illness to help people on their journeys to recovery.
“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,” he said. “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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It’s one of the many reasons the Duke of Sussex cofounded the Invictus Games, which was attended by more than 100,000 people in the Netherlands earlier this month. “For me, part of the organizing of Invictus was an opportunity to use my influence, my platform, and my convening ability to be able to find a cure for not just the individual, but the families as well,” he said. “We had thousands of emails that came in. People literally saying, ‘I’ve had a broken back for three years. I haven’t been able to get off the sofa until I just saw a double amputee run the 100 meters. So thank you for the inspiration. I’m now getting up off my sofa, and I’m now going to, like, smash life.'”
He continued, “That’s the power of sport. It literally has the ability to completely transform an individual.”
The duke has served as BetterUp’s chief impact officer since March 2021, a role that has seen him have significant input into company initiatives and get involved in product strategy. Through its professional tools, Harry said the company is aiming to transform “a whole conversation” around mental illness into one about mental fitness.
“The chief impact officer role for me at BetterUp is 100 percent about driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness—99.9 percent of people on planet Earth are suffering from some form of loss, trauma, or grief,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, but the majority of us have experienced a lot of that in our younger years; therefore, we’ve forgotten about it. Now, the body doesn’t forget, the body holds the score, as we know. And therefore, just as much as there’s a mental health aspect to it, there’s also the emotional aspect to it as well. And I think the more that we can talk about it, the more we understand it. The more we understand it, well, the more we understand each other.”
He continued, “Mental fitness, as far as I understand it, is more a case of getting on the front foot. What can you do to be proactive, to prevent the situation from happening?”
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