More than a year after first stepping back from his official duties with the British royal family, Prince Harry has a new job with an American employee coaching and mental health organization.
BetterUp, Inc. announced Tuesday the Duke of Sussex would be joining their team as its first chief impact officer, in a role in which he’ll aim to “lift up critical dialogues around mental health, build supportive and compassionate communities, and foster an environment for honest and vulnerable conversations.
“My hope is to help people develop their inner strength, resilience, and confidence,” Harry wrote in a blog posted Tuesday to the company’s site. “I firmly believe that focusing on and prioritising our mental fitness unlocks potential and opportunity that we never knew we had inside of us. As the Royal Marine Commandos say, ‘It’s a state of mind.’ We all have it in us.”
He added: “Being attuned with your mind, and having a support structure around you, are critical to finding your own version of peak performance. What I’ve learned in my own life is the power of transforming pain into purpose.”
BetterUp CEO Alexi Robichaux told the Wall Street Journal Harry’s role would be “meaningful and meaty” and that the royal would spend some time in the organization’s San Francisco office once it’s safe to do so, though he won’t directly be responsible for any employees. When asked about Prince Harry’s compensation for the role, a representative for BetterUp directed USA TODAY to Robichaux’s WSJ interview, in which he declined to comment.
Harry has spent the past few years championing mental health services and opening up about his own struggles. Last May, he joined forces with the British Ministry of Defence to launch HeadFIT, an online platform of resources to help troops deal with mental-health problems, including consequences of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Prince Harry’s bio on the organization’s website mentions the couple’s foundation, Archewell, and notes he is “focused on driving systemic change across all communities through non-profit work as well as creative activations.”
“The mission across Archewell…is united behind the deeply held belief that compassion is the defining cultural force of the 21st century,” the bio reads.
In other Sussex news, the royal couple announced several staffing changes at their production company at Archewell, including Oscar-nominated producer Ben Browning as head of content. He will oversee their film and audio projects under their Netflix and Spotify deals.
Browning is one of the four producers of “Promising Young Woman,” up for a best-picture Oscar next month in addition to multiple other film nominations. He also executive produced HBO’s limited series “I Know This Much Is True,” for which Mark Ruffalo won an Emmy and Golden Globe for acting.
In a statement issued by Archewell, Browning said Harry and Meghan are building “a next-generation production company” with powerful partners and global reach.
BetterUp’s announcement about Harry’s new role comes a few weeks following Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which the couple cited their declining mental health and a lack of help and resources from the palace as one of the defining reasons for stepping back from the royal family.
In a particularly distressing clip from the March 7 interview, Meghan said she was so close to suicide during her time in the palace that she couldn’t be left alone.
“I didn’t want to be alive anymore,” she said, tearing up. “I was ashamed to admit it to Harry, but I knew if I didn’t say it, I would do it. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. It was clear, it was real, it was frightening, and it was a constant thought.”
Meghan couldn’t get any help from “the institution” of the monarchy, because she wasn’t an employee, she was told. She couldn’t check into a hospital because that wouldn’t look good. “You can’t just call an Uber to the palace,” she half-joked.
About a week prior, Harry had opened up to James Corden about his own mental health struggles while in the palace.
“It was a really difficult environment, as I think a lot of people saw. We all know what the British press can be like. And it was destroying my mental health,” he said on Corden’s “The Late Late Show.” “I was like, ‘This is toxic.’ So I did what any husband and father would do… I need to get my family out of here.”
He continued: “But we never walked away – and as far as I’m concerned, whatever decisions are made on that side – I will never walk away. I will always be contributing – my life is public service, so wherever I am in the world it is going to be the same thing.”
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.
Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.
Contributing: Maria Puente
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