The Duke of Sussex has urged people in the US to “reject hate speech” and vote in the country’s upcoming presidential election.
Reflecting on the negative impact that online bullying can have on a person’s mental health, Duchess Meghan recalled the comments and headlines written about her last year being “almost unsurvivable.”
Speaking alongside her husband, Prince Harry, in an episode of the “Teenager Therapy” podcast Friday in honor of World Mental Health Day on Saturday, Meghan reflected on facing “damaging” and “manufactured” stories about herself.
“I’m told that in 2019, I was the most trolled person in the entire world, male or female,” she said. “Eight months of that, I wasn’t even visible – I was on maternity leave with a baby. But what was able to just be manufactured and churned out: It’s almost unsurvivable. That’s so big, you can’t even think of what that feels like. I don’t care if you’re 15 or you’re 25, if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging.”
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Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan of Sussex arrive at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards in London on March 5, 2020. (Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth, AP)
She added: “From my standpoint and part of the work that we do is from our own personal experience, being able to talk to people and understand that even though our experience is unique to us and obviously can seem very different from what people experience on the day-to-day, it’s still a human experience and that’s universal. We all know what it feels like to have our feelings hurt. We all know what it feels like to be isolated or othered.”
Harry and Meghan also shared tips for taking care of one’s mental health and why they think spreading mental health awareness this year, especially amid coronavirus isolation, is vital.
“The moment people start to think about mental health, immediately people start to think about a small group of people, as opposed to every single one of us,” Harry said, noting that trauma and grief affects nearly everyone, “if not 100%.”
Meghan highlighted the importance of finding self-care tools that work for you: Personally, she finds journaling to help her “reflect on where I’ve come from.” Harry noted regularly meditating has become a vital part of his routine, despite never thinking he’d be a person who meditates.
Harry added: “Every single one of us have mental health and every single one of us have got stuff going on that we either need to talk about or we need help with, or that we have some form of compassion and empathy for other people that are going through something similar.”
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The royal couple appeared Sunday in a virtual discussion with activist Malala Yousafzai to commemorate International Day of the Girl Child, which the United Nation declared in 2011 as a day to promote girls’ rights and address the challenges girls face around the world.
“When young girls have access to education, everyone succeeds,” Meghan said, expressing thanks that she and Harry are “able to raise our son in a way where everything about his nourishment is in terms of educational substance and how you can learn and how you can grow.”
Prince Harry, who is outspoken about environmental issues, highlighted the importance of girls’ education to help the world combat climate change. Meghan, who has campaigned on education for girls for some time and has spoken about gender equality at forums including the UN Women Conference in 2015, touched on ways promoting a young girl’s education benefits her community in the long run.
“Similar to you, I think I see something that is so critical to be addressed and so critical to be fixed, and that by fixing that one thing, you end up fixing multiple problems,” Meghan said, addressing Yousafzai. “What I had realized very early on is that when women have a seat at the table, conversations in terms of policy change, conversations in terms of legislation, certainly just the dynamics of a community are all shifted. And typically when a woman is present at the table, she is going to be advocating for an entire family, as opposed to a patriarchal presence.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
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