MEGHAN Markle says she was the “most trolled person in the world” last year in a new mental health podcast with Prince Harry.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined Californian high school students on their ‘Teenager Therapy’ podcast to mark Mental Health Day – and made a passionate plea for anyone suffering to speak out.
During the broadcast, aired today, the Duke and Duchess discussed with teens Gael, Kayla, and Thomas about the importance of self-care and mental health struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The pair, who discovered the podcast from a New York Times profile, also discussed the unique mental health difficulties of being in the public eye.
During the interview, Meghan said she was the world’s most trolled person last year – and described the online abuse she’d received as “unsurvivable”.
She said: “I’m told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the entire world, male or female.
“Eight months of that I wasn’t even visible – I was on maternity leave or with a baby.
“But what was able to be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable.
“I don’t care if you’re 15 or you’re 25 – if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging.”
Prince Harry also hit out at online trolls who “hide behind usernames”, adding: “There are things that are said digitally that nobody would say in person”.
The Duke also said that, in the modern age, vulnerability was a “sign of strength” and not a weakness.
Harry continued: “I think putting your self-care as a priority is hugely important, because vulnerability is not a weakness, showing vulnerability in today’s world especially, is a strength.”
He also praised the teenage hosts for their candid approach to talking about mental health, and later told the podcast that he meditates.
During the podcast, Prince Harry also discussed of the immense mental health difficulties generated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Duke said: “I think if you could safely say that 90% of people on planet Earth have suffered some form of trauma, some form of loss, some form of grief, and that’s different, it varies to every single person.
“Then certainly for this year, through Covid, I think it’s probably safe to say that 99.9%, if not 100% of people, have experienced some form of one of those, all those, at the same time.”
Despite the pandemic, Meghan said she is “doing well”, adding: “The past few months have been layered for everyone, we certainly can’t complain, we are fortunate we all have our health, we have rooves over our heads.”
Harry added: “The unique part of our work is whatever you’re going through and whatever other people are going through, it’s all relative to that environment that they’re in.
“For the majority of people I’ve spoken to in London, or in the UK, have been stuck in high-rise blocks of flats, unable to see any open grass or open green space.
“We’ve felt incredibly grateful and fortunate to be able to have outdoor space where our son can walk his first steps.
“It reminds me of how many people are stacked on top of each other and have been for month after month after month after month, and what that must do to people’s mental health.”
Harry added: “Our situation is somewhat unique but then every single person’s situation is unique, it’s a different version of the same thing.
“For Meghan, she said on a global scale, that’s what happened in 2019, but if you’re a young girl or young boy at school, that’s your world, so if you’re being attacked, or being bullied or whatever is online…it feels the same.”
The Duchess also spoke of the dangers of social media for teen mental health.
She said: “For anyone if you’re not in school then you’re on your devices and online more.
“Theres a lot of vulnerability there that I think so many people are experiencing.
“Yes it’s a great place to connect but it’s also a place where there is a lot of disconnection.”
Meghan also discussed an interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby as part of her tour of Africa that she filmed last year, which gained significant attention.
“We were on a tour in South Africa and on the last day of the tour, man I was tired. I was just about to give Archie a bath and I was exhausted.”
Harry said she was breastfeeding at the time, to which Meghan added: “A lot of people don’t know, it’s like running a marathon, so between every official engagement I was running back to make sure our son was fed, and it was a lot.
“At the very end the journalist asked me ‘well, are you OK?’ and I didn’t realise that my answer would receive such an interest from around the world, because I said ‘well thanks, people haven’t really asked me if I’m OK’.
“I didn’t think about that answer, I just answered honestly, because I was in a moment of vulnerability, because I was tired, because there was no presentation.”
She added: “It was just ‘here’s where I am, I’m a mum who is with a four-and-half-month-old baby and we are tired’.
“But I think it speaks to the fact that the reason it resonated with people is because everyone wants to be asked if they’re OK.”
The Sun (UK)