The Duke of Sussex has revealed details of his new mental health TV series with Oprah Winfrey as he claimed it could ‘save lives’ by helping viewers to open up.
Prince Harry said the multi-part documentary, set to air on Apple’s new streaming service, will tell tales of the ‘human spirit fighting back from the darkest places’.
The Queen of daytime TV and the prince have been working on the series, which will come out next year, for ‘several months’ during a number of ‘secret meetings in London’.
It will focus on both mental illness and mental wellness, and aims to inspire viewers to have an honest conversation about the challenges they face.
Harry, 34, has become a global ambassador for mental health causes after speaking out about how he battled ‘numerous breakdowns’ while coming to terms with the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
The Duke of Sussex (left) has revealed details of his new mental health TV series with Oprah Winfrey (pictured at his wedding with Meghan in 2018, right) as he claimed it could ‘save lives’ by helping viewers to open up
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Harry said that he realised that first opening up about his struggles in a podcast with journalist Bryony Gordon in 2017 had helped him to realise how he could help others suffering with mental health issues.
He added: ‘When I did your podcast two years ago the response made me realise what an impact sharing my story could have, and what an impact other stories can have for so many who are suffering silently.
‘If the viewers can relate to the pain and perhaps the experience, then it could save lives, as we will focus on prevention and positive outcomes.
‘What I have learnt and I continue to learn in the space of mental health, mental illness and self-awareness is that all roads lead back to our mental wellbeing, how we look after ourselves and each other.’
The production team for Harry’s new show includes the Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Asif Kapadia, who directed Senna, Dawn Porter and Kahane Cooperman.
Harry first revealed his personal struggles in 2017, saying he sought counselling after two years of ‘total chaos’ having spent nearly 20 years ‘not thinking’ about the loss of his mother.
Harry, 34, has become a global ambassador for mental health causes after speaking out about how he battled ‘numerous breakdowns’ while coming to terms with the death of his mother, Princess Diana (pictured in 1995)
The prince revealed how his brother William had been a ‘huge support’ in battling his demons and that it was he who insisted it was ‘OK’ to talk to someone.
Harry – who said he knew he was struggling but ‘didn’t know what was wrong’ – said his brother had gently tried to push him in the right direction, but it was only when the ‘timing was right’ that he was able to seek help.
Despite being ‘a little nervous’ and ‘tight in the chest’ about revealing his struggle, Harry said he hoped it would help break the stigma around mental health.
Harry dismissed previous speculation he may have suffered mental health issues because of his time in Afghanistan, and said coping with the death of his mother in the public eye had the greatest impact.
In an interview with CBS earlier this year, Oprah revealed exactly how the project came about, explaining that she actually pitched the idea to Prince Harry during a discussion about global issues.
‘I asked [Prince Harry] the question, “What do you think are the most important issues facing the world right now?” and he said there are two,’ Oprah revealed.
‘He said climate change and mental wellness, mental fitness and mental health.’
She went on: ‘As you know, he’s spoken about his own issues and what he went through after his mother died and how being able to talk about it has benefited him.
‘So it’s a passion of his and, at the end of the conversation, I said, “Oh, I’m going to be doing this thing with Apple. It’s a big concern of mine too and I want to try to erase the stigma,” and he said at the end of the conversation, “If there’s anything I can do to help.”‘
It was then that Oprah decided to pitch the idea of Harry partnering with her on the Apple project, with the TV titan revealing that, since signing on, the royal has been incredibly involved in building the series.
Oprah was a guest at Harry and Meghan’s wedding at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle last May, and has also formed a friendship with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.
Prince Harry with his mother Diana (left). Now 35, the royal (shown right) said he was ‘in a good place’ after receiving counselling