Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation Prince Harry
Prince Harry explains how he protects his mental health.
The Duke of Sussex, who spent the last week cheering on service personnel and veterans at the Invictus Games in The Hague, told PEOPLE in this week’s exclusive cover story that he remains mindful of reports that he consumes, especially in times of conflict.
“For much of my life I’ve been blessed to be able to help others,” says Harry, 37. “As a conflict veteran, but also just as a human, I take care of what my mind ingests. Like a digital diet. Eliminate toxic parts of the online world and the way stories are presented to us, baiting us, is a way for me to prioritize my well-being.”
The father-of-two adds: “I also make sure to talk to people, directly, one-on-one, about what they’re going through, and try to learn from their experiences and their understanding of the world. .”
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Many athletes have credited the Invictus Games with saving their lives by providing them with a community that understands and supports them.
“Every time I hear that, it goes straight to the heart,” Prince Harry said. “I really feel it. I feel it with every hug I get from the contestants themselves or their family members. I feel it when they share with me what it means to see their husband, father, wife or mother just smile again. The sport is the mechanism. The goal is the potion. The mindset is the medicine.
He continues, “Many of these families have gone to the darkest places imaginable. While each story is different and unique, the lessons are more relevant to all of us than they seem. I’m proud to see their recovery, but even more proud of their service to others. I believe that their presence and resilience literally saves more lives than we will ever know or hear about.
Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Prince Harry
In 2018, the Duke of Sussex spoke candidly about his experience and the importance of mental health to a crowd of thousands gathered at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia.
“By simply being here and struggling with some of the darkest experiences known to anyone, you have become role models for anyone at home or in the stands who might be struggling with their emotions or with mental illness.” , did he declare. “You’re showing it’s okay to be unwell. And most importantly, you’re showing all of us that it’s okay to ask for help.”
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To conclude, he presented himself as someone who faced such challenges.
“I’ve been there, you’ve been there and now we need to reach out to those who can never even imagine themselves in this place,” he encouraged. “When you accept that a challenge is real, you can have hope. When you understand your vulnerability, you can grow strong. When you are brave enough to ask for help, you can be lifted. You can start to live, to do, to feel – not just to survive. And when you share your story, you can change the world.