Prince Harry Should not be Criticized for Speaking About Mental Health


Prince Harry uses meditation to cope with his mental illness. (Courtesy of Twitter)

People from all different kinds of social and economic backgrounds experience mental health issues. From the top 1% to low-income households, mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety affect everyone equally. 

As such, Prince Harry’s openness to discuss his own problems should not come as a surprise. Countless celebrities have similarly recounted the tales of their struggles in an effort to maintain transparency with their communities and to create a more understanding atmosphere. 

In Prince Harry’s case, his effort to aid others going through similar struggles was met with unnecessary hostility, which I find incredibly puzzling. The media is consistently encouraging people to come out with stories of their mental health battles. In fact, the majority of celebrities who are open about their mental health conditions are met with resounding praise from reporters and fans alike. 

Furthermore, there was no part of what Prince Harry said that should have caused any sort of controversy. He did not diminish any other person’s struggles by painting his own as more severe and even went as far as to share a coping strategy that he found to be instrumental in his recovery with the hopes that others would find it to be useful. The resource he mentioned is not something that is hard to come by: meditation.

Meditation is not an exclusive commodity that only the wealthy can afford. It can be done just about anywhere and with any kind of budget. 

Many content creators such as the Honest Guys create different kinds of meditations for specific purposes and goals, all available for free on YouTube. From better sleep to simply unwinding after a stressful event or day, there are over 400 different meditations that these creators offer to the public; these meditations are not time consuming either. Ranging from a few minutes to over three hours, there is a free meditation available for just about every lifestyle.

Moreover, many scientific studies have expressed support for meditative efforts to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Although there is still much to learn in regards to mental illness, meditation has been strongly linked to a reduction in negative thoughts. Though it is by no means a cure-all, a fact which Prince Harry made clear, it can definitely lead to marked improvement in the emotional state of those suffering conditions like depression. It can be an incredibly effective coping mechanism for people who might not otherwise have one.

I was shocked to discover that the criticism Prince Harry faced was because of his background. Though he is undoubtedly wealthier than most, the accusations that he doesn’t do anything or doesn’t have to work a day in his life are rather closed-minded. As a royal, he is bound to follow a very strict, specific itinerary day to day with little time for relaxation. Not to mention, his entire childhood, as well as his current personal life, has been subjected to media scrutiny, a facet of life which affords him very little privacy. This, in turn, could more than adequately explain the burnout the Prince feels. 

In addition to the stress of growing up as a royal in the public eye, it is important to remember that mental health struggles do not only happen to a specific group of people. While there are specific cases in which conditions such as depression and anxiety can be traced back to a traumatic event, the reasons for these conditions are often firmly outlined.

Depression and anxiety don’t care about how rich you are or about how hard you work. Regardless of his fame, Prince Harry is just as likely to suffer from mental health issues as any other person. To attack and criticize him for his vulnerability is insensitive. He is entitled to share about his struggles like everyone else.

Carolyn Branigan, FCRH ’24, is an English and film major from Tinton Falls, N.J.