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Harry talks about importance of mental health fitness in podcast interview

The Duke of Sussex speaking during the Invictus Games in The Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Friday April 22, 2022 (Aaron Chown/PA)
The Duke of Sussex speaking during the Invictus Games in The Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Friday April 22, 2022 (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Duke of Sussex has suggested there needs to be a change in people’s mindsets from just coping with problems to getting on the “front foot” and becoming mentally fit.

Speaking in a podcast in his role as chief impact officer for professional coaching and mental health firm BetterUp, Harry said he saw his job as “driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness”.

The Masters of Scale podcast, which interviews start-up entrepreneurs about the key to their success, is hosted by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman who suggested to the royal the goal in life should be “not just to avoid losing but play to win”.

Invictus Games – The Hague
The Duke of Sussex at the Invictus Games closing ceremony at The Hague (Aaron Chown/PA)

The duke, who last week staged his Invictus Games in Holland, replied: “Yeah, rather than looking at going, ‘yeah, exactly that, every single day I’m trying to survive’ or ‘every single day I’m trying to cope’, I think we need to completely change it.

“And that’s what I mean about the difference between mental health and mental fitness … the mental fitness aspect is like, ‘I’m not going to wait for myself to be, either collapse on the floor or wait to have a nervous breakdown or burnout and then have to fall on my friends or then have to pay X amount of money or find the money to be able to afford professional help’.

“Mental fitness, as far as I understand it, is more a case of get on the front foot. What can you do to be proactive, to prevent the situation from happening?”

San Francisco-based BetterUp is valued at more than a billion dollars and Harry’s role, which he took on in March last year, includes product strategy, philanthropy and public advocacy related to mental health.

He is also involved in the firm’s commitment to Pledge 1% – a movement which encourages companies to donate 1% of equity, staff time, product or profit to their communities.

Harry told the podcast: “The chief impact officer role for me at BetterUp is 100% about driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness.

“Ninety-nine point nine percent of people on planet Earth are suffering from some form of loss, trauma or grief.

“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.”