Prince Harry says he hopes his mental health series with Oprah Winfrey helps ‘save lives’

By Zach Harper

Prince Harry has opened up about his new mental health TV series with Oprah Winfrey, saying he hopes it helps “save lives” by encouraging viewers to get help.

Earlier this year, it was announced the Duke of Sussex and the beloved TV host and lifestyle and self-improvement guru would team up for an as-yet-untitled new mental health series for Apple that would launch sometime next year. On Sept. 18, Harry told The Daily Telegraph some more details about the show and how he hopes it will help viewers.

MORE: Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey are teaming up for an incredible project

In 2017, Harry touched millions of lives when he appeared on the Telegraph’s Mad World podcast, hosted by Bryony Gordon. He bravely shared the struggles he went through following the death of his mother, Princess Diana, and how it has affected his mental health and wellbeing since.

Diana had a very close bond with her two children, and her loss at such a young age profoundly affected both of them. Photo: © Getty Images

“When I did your podcast two years ago, the response made me realize what an impact sharing my story could have, and what an impact other stories can have for so many who are suffering silently,” Harry told Bryony this week.

“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.”

Two years ago, Harry told Bryony since he had not dealt with feelings about his mother’s 1997 death, he was left “very close to a complete breakdown.”

“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 told Bryony in 2017. “I know there’s huge merit in talking about your issues.

“Keeping it quiet will only ever make it worse, not just for you, but everyone else around you because you become a problem.”

Harry visited the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) while he was in Toronto ahead of the Invictus Games in 2017. While there, he discussed the hospital’s research. Photo: © Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

Harry, 32 at the time, then went on to say his failure to address his feelings caused him two years of “total chaos” in his 20s, leading him to seek professional help when he was 28 – partly due to the “huge support” he received from Prince William.

When Harry appeared on her podcast two years ago, he told Bryony he took to boxing to get out his anger and accessed therapy. At that point, he said he realized the importance of talking to his friends about what he was going through. He reiterated that point this week.

“What I have learned and 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,” he told Bryony on Sept. 18.

As for progress on the show, which Harry and Oprah will both executive produce, Harry said they have been working with “subject matter experts” to talk about mental health and the science behind it since “we deserve to know it all.”

Harry, Duchess Meghan, William and Duchess Kate all spearhead Heads Together, a royal initiative that encourages conversation on mental health issues as a way to break down stigma. Photo: © Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

In April, a source told HELLO! UK Harry will make donations to various mental health charities in exchange for his involvement with the program. Kahane Cooperman, who worked on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will produce the new series, and episodes will be directed and produced by Dawn Porter and Asif Kapadia.

Dawn is responsible for documentaries including Trapped and Spies of Mississippi, which examined the impact of anti-abortion laws in the American south and efforts to continue and entrench racial segregation in Mississippi in the ‘50s and ‘60s, respectively. Asif directed Amy, the 2015 documentary about late singer Amy Winehouse, which has since become the highest-grossing documentary film of all time in the UK.

MORE: How Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry’s mental health series came to be

Earlier this year, Oprah told CBS the project grew out of a conversation she had with Harry when she told him she was working on the initiative with Apple.

“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.’”

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