wWhile the revelations in Prince Harry’s book have shock value, the form in which they come is not. The tell-all memoir, ghostwritten with the most raunchy stories and broken down into pre-publication interviews, is an informational piece. The subject, publisher, and instructors all know their roles and – barring a few early leaks – things have been managed in stages effectively.
But what’s unusual about Harry’s discoveries is how they’re compared to, and intertwined with, much less than premeditated disclosure: The Cure.
Harry’s experience in therapy got him flowing – and that experience became a stick with which the palace could defeat him, as well as a bizarre coda for Harry and William’s advocacy for mental health awareness.
Since about 2016, Prince William He has become perhaps the most prominent proponent of the men’s mental health discussion. He launched the mental health charity Heads Together. He made a film for the BBC discussing mental health struggles with footballers including Thierry Henry and Gareth Southgate. He focused his campaign efforts on men, discarding the notion of a stiff British lip and encouraging talk.
William’s intervention came at a time when mental health was – to put it unpleasantly – in a vogue moment. Chosen by brands and the zeitgeist in the same way LGBTQ+ rights and feminism were in previous years, this was the everyday affair. Headspace has exploded in popularity. Every frustrated remark from the #sosadtoday Twitter account became a meme. Previously scorned celebrities are suddenly being celebrated for “opening up” about their depression.
The vast majority of the attention was on middle-class people who suffer from anxiety or depression. When every magazine, TV show, and website launched a “special series” on mental health, they rarely talked about schizophrenia or debilitating OCD. Instead, there were largely meaningless hashtags (View Instagram #HereForYouAnd Try iHeartRadio “Let’s Talk”; Burger King launched a series of Depression themed meals including blue meal, salty meal, and DGAF meal).
And to the bug, the main solution given was just to talk. Start the conversation, time to talk, open up – such was the drumbeat of this supposed revolution.
William himself posited this as the great solution at the time: “It’s a sign of strength to speak for and take care of your mind as well as your body… Katherine and I are clear that we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling empowered to talk about their emotions and feelings.”
In fact, it was William, at first, who encouraged Harry to seek professional help. And there is no doubt in Harry’s mind that this months-long world tour of revelations would not have been possible without the help of his shrink. In the book, he explains that the search for therapy was the beginning of separation from his family. Since then, his therapist has become an important figure in his life. In one of the most shocking revelations, the alleged physical attack by William, Harry said immediately afterwards that he called his therapist. He also told ITV: “If I hadn’t been doing the therapy sessions like I used to and being able to process that anger and frustration, I would have fought back 100%.”
Harry recently shifted from a demographic unlikely to seek treatment — British men over 35 — to one for which treatment has reached almost full penetration: affluent Angelenos. He says the United States is more accepting of people asking for help. The real picture is a bit more complex — it’s true that white, affluent urban Americans are more likely to seek talk therapy than Brits are, but many other Americans are prescribed drugs for mental health problems without receiving support from a counselor or therapist. However, it is more natural for people without immediate mental disorders to receive regular treatment in the US — where it is a huge industry, with nine mental health startups reaching private valuations of more than $1 billion last year — than in the UK, Where services are largely run through a bespoke mix of hard-to-reach NHS support and independent psychotherapists.
Something about him being a man seeking this kind of help outraged the palace and the public.
But in the memoir, Harry claims that William believed his brother was being “brainwashed” by his handler. A source “close to the royal family” echoed that language this week The Independent: “The King, Camilla and William believe that the situation will remain the same while the Duke of Sussex remains effectively ‘kidnapped by a cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'”.
This is the kind of anonymous press briefing Harry suggests comes directly from his family, though we have no way of knowing if that’s the case. But if that was the case, it wouldn’t be the first time the family had encouraged a struggling child to go to therapy, only to be horrified when they came back and brought issues up on them.
Speaking up is, for many people, an important step in coping with repressing the bad things that happened or the bad things they did. There is overwhelming evidence that self-talk alone can improve the situation — but it is often the starting point for other actions. Revealing the horrors of childhood, as Harry did in his treatment, doesn’t necessarily bring much relief – but it can alert someone not to allow the same patterns to continue.
If we’re serious about removing the stigma around mental health, it just can’t be enough Start conversation; We also have to reckon with where that conversation is going. In Harry’s case, this led to the realization of a harsh and sometimes abusive childhood and adult life: he was refused a hug or even eye contact from his father as he was told of his mother’s death, and forced into a public parade behind his mother’s coffin, told by his father that he was a back-up and that he might not Even his real son, he was sent to boarding school at the age of eight and refused privacy at any time. Later in life, he claimed, his father and wife colluded to submit stories about his behavior to the tabloid press in order to improve their public relations standing. Is he a little cranky as an adult, sometimes unable to read a room, and prone to defensive grandiosity? at all. Is it any wonder why? not at all.
Of course, just because Harry’s well-being might be helped by talking to a therapist, it doesn’t follow that he needs to go on an international press tour. When there is public unease about Harry’s disclosures, it is not – as the British press likes to suggest – out of loyalty to the palace, or a feeling that it has been exaggerated. This is because he is a wealthy and privileged man, the original Native Child, evidently investing his pain in order to carve out a new life for himself while also demanding privacy.
But in this case, the general flow is the only one where he can prevent the same things from happening. It is one of those strange and rare cases where the profitable thing is also the right one. When Hollywood actors, many of whom are also very privileged, speak out about sexual misconduct, racism, and bullying on set, most people don’t blame them for doing so. Much of that pain was also scraped into therapy, but to shut it down it had to be on public display. When you hit the drum to talk, it can sometimes end up saying things.