According to him, losing his mom impacted all aspects of his life, including his mental health.
Prince Harry is opening up about the mental health struggles he faced after the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997, when he was only 12 in an interview on Telegraph‘s new podcast Mad World.
According to Harry, losing his mom impacted all aspects of his life, including his mental health. “I can safely say that losing my mom at the age of 12 and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years has had quite a serious effect on not only my personal life but also my work as well,” he says. “My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help?”
Harry says his emotional shut-down, and the pressures of grieving in public, caused him to be a “problem” during his twenties—and eventually resulted in two years of “total chaos." "I just didn't know what was wrong with me," he says of that time.
He says he finally sought help from a therapist when he was 28, with the encouragement and “huge support” of his brother Prince William. He also took up boxing to help him cope with his anxiety because he was “on the verge of punching someone.”
This isn’t the first time Harry has advocated for mental health: He formed the mental health charity Heads Together with Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. William also recently talked about his struggles with mental health during a speech to the U.K.’s Guild of Health writers in February.
“Mental health was the great taboo. If you were anxious, it’s because you were weak,” he said, per People. “If you couldn’t cope with whatever life threw at you, it’s because you were failing. Successful, strong people don’t suffer like that, do they? But of course—we all do. It’s just that few of us speak about it.”
Kate has also spoken out in particular about the mental health challenges young mothers face. In a speech in late March, she shared that the transition to motherhood has been difficult for her at times."For many mothers—myself included—this can, at times, lead to lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance."
Now, Harry says he’s in a good place and credits the therapy he went through for it. “Because of the process that I’ve been through over the last two-and-a-half to three years, I’ve now been able to take my work seriously, been able to take my private life seriously as well, and been able to put blood, sweat, and tears into the things that really make a difference,” he says.