Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry encourage followers to open up about their mental health during coronavirus pandemic

By Heather Cichowski

Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry encourage followers to open up about their mental health during coronavirus pandemic


It's totally normal to be feeling tons of emotions – or not even know what you're feeling! – as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic. That's why it's important to prioritize our mental health and wellbeing as we engage in other expert-recommended practices, such as social distancing and nourishing our bodies.

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan want to ensure fans are looking after themselves during this trying time related to COVID-19. On March 20, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex posted a message on the Sussex Royal Instagram account that read, "Today I feel _____." The caption goes into detail about our feelings and provides resources for those feeling stressed and/or anxious.

"With everything going on, it’s a lot to take in. Many of us may feel confused. Or alone, or anxious or scared...and in isolation, some of us may just feel bored, or that you don’t know what to do with yourself without your normal routine," the Sussexes wrote.

"It’s perfectly normal to be feeling any of these things."

They said this might be an unprecedented situation, but it's not totally different from the way our emotions are brought up in everyday situations.

"Our emotional well-being is challenged everyday whether we realise it or not, but our lives are usually filled with distractions," the post continued. "Now with constantly changing COVID coverage, we are all adjusting to this new normal and the feelings that come with it.

"But here’s the good thing (because right now we need to hear good things, right?): Yes, there is isolation and physical distancing, but there doesn’t have to be loneliness."

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With everything going on, it’s a lot to take in. Many of us may feel confused. Or alone, or anxious or scared...and in isolation, some of us may just feel bored, or that you don’t know what to do with yourself without your normal routine. It’s perfectly normal to be feeling any of these things. Our emotional well-being is challenged everyday whether we realise it or not, but our lives are usually filled with distractions. Now with constantly changing COVID coverage, we are all adjusting to this new normal and the feelings that come with it. But here’s the good thing (because right now we need to hear good things, right?): Yes, there is isolation and physical distancing, but there doesn’t have to be loneliness. There are resources that can help us all through this process, and ways that YOU can become one of those resources. @crisistextline @giveusashoutinsta @kidshelpphone and CTL Ireland are organisations that need new volunteers now more than ever and have an open door for you to get the support you need. • - If you’re home and feeling bored, you can digitally train to be a counselor and HELP someone who really needs your support! What an amazing way to use this time • - If you feel alone, overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious, you can text one of these lines and talk it through. • - If you are in an abusive relationship and now find yourself in isolation with your abuser, these counselors are there for you. You do not need to suffer in silence. And for those of you who don’t feel comfortable texting with a stranger, reach out to your friends, family and colleagues. Phone calls and video conferencing are such a great way to feel more connected - ask if they’re okay, tell them how you’re (actually) feeling, and use this time to really listen for the answer. If there is someone you know and are worried about, your text may be the thing that saves their life.

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Harry and Meghan went on to list resources to aid us during this time, including Crisis Text Line, a global non-profit that provides free confidential crisis intervention via SMS message, Shout UK, the UK's first 24/7 text service for those in crisis; and Kids Help Phone. They also said "YOU can become one of those resources" by volunteering, especially when help is needed now more than ever. The Sussexes suggested those who are in self-isolation and feeling bored can train digitally to be a counsellor.

They also encouraged those who are feeling emotionally vulnerable to not suffer in silence.

"If you feel alone, overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious, you can text one of these lines and talk it through," they said.

"If you are in an abusive relationship and now find yourself in isolation with your abuser, these counselors are there for you. You do not need to suffer in silence.

"And for those of you who don’t feel comfortable texting with a stranger, reach out to your friends, family and colleagues. Phone calls and video conferencing are such a great way to feel more connected - ask if they’re okay, tell them how you’re (actually) feeling, and use this time to really listen for the answer."

"If there is someone you know and are worried about, your text may be the thing that saves their life," they said in closing.

Fans are responding by openly sharing their feelings. Some say they feel blessed for the happy moments in their lives to while others are writing about being anxious and overwhelmed. Others are feeling uncertain or a mix of emotions.

In addition to providing resources, the Instagram post is creating a sense of community among commenters where they feel comfortable enough to express how they're going through emotionally in this difficult time.

MORE: The Queen releases message of hope in which she encourages everyone to do their part to defeat coronavirus

Harry and Meghan's mental health post comes after they promised to share "information and resources to help all of us navigate the uncertainty" on their social media channels.

On March 18, they made the promise in an Instagram post that featured the quote, "This moment is as true a testament there is to the human spirit."

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These are uncertain times. And now, more than ever, we need each other. We need each other for truth, for support, and to feel less alone during a time that can honestly feel quite scary. There are so many around the world who need support right now, who are working tirelessly to respond to this crisis behind the scenes, on the frontline, or at home. Our willingness, as a people, to step up in the face of what we are all experiencing with COVID-19 is awe-inspiring. This moment is as true a testament there is to the human spirit. We often speak of compassion. All of our lives are in some way affected by this, uniting each of us globally. How we approach each other and our communities with empathy and kindness is indisputably important right now. Over the coming weeks, this will be our guiding principle. We will be sharing information and resources to help all of us navigate the uncertainty: from posting accurate information and facts from trusted experts, to learning about measures we can take to keep ourselves and our families healthy, to working with organisations that can support our mental and emotional well-being. In addition, we will focus on the inspiring stories of how so many of you around the world are connecting in ways big and small to lift all of us up. We are all in this together, and as a global community we can support each other through this process – and build a digital neighbourhood that feels safe for every one of us. We look forward to sharing more over the days and weeks to come...

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"These are uncertain times. And now, more than ever, we need each other," the note began. "We need each other for truth, for support, and to feel less alone during a time that can honestly feel quite scary."

Harry and Meghan have made mental health a focus through many of the causes they have previously supported. The Duke of Sussex and Oprah Winfrey have an upcoming Apple TV+ series that's reportedly centred around mental health. The Sussexes also highlighted the Bell Let's Talk campaign on social media earlier this year.

The prince has also been outspoken about his own mental health, having revealed the difficulties he went through as a result of the passing of his mother, Princess Diana, when he was just 12 years old.

At the time of writing, the World Health Organization (WHO) states there have been more than 209,000 cases of coronavirus in 168 countries, areas and territories. Canada has 846 of those cases, according to Health Canada data. The illness has caused more than 8,700 deaths worldwide.

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