"Most trolled person in the world": Meghan Markle and Prince Harry speak out
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have spoken out about the intense abuse they have received, saying it is “almost unsurvivable” in a podcast to mark World Mental Health Day.
The couple joined three Californian high school students on an episode of their podcast Teenager Therapy to speak on topics including mental health stigma, self-care and online abuse.
Meghan said the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more online time for most people.
“Yes, it’s a great way to connect, but it also ends up being a place where there’s a lot of disconnection, you know, I can speak personally to,” she told the hosts.
“I’m told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the entire world, male or female. Now, eight months of that I wasn’t even visible, I was on maternity leave or with a baby.
“But what was able to just be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable, that’s so big, you can’t think of what that feels like, because I don’t care if you’re 15 or 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 added that people feel safe hiding behind usernames on virtual spaces in order to say things they would not say in person.
“I think many, many people are hurting, a lot, and are freaking out because of the way the world is and because of, sometimes, the echo chamber that has been created for them by the online platform that they’ve chosen to be on,” he said.
“But also it comes down to control as well, you can control what you see, you can control what you do, so whether it’s notifications or whether it’s vibration ringtones, whatever it is, these things control you, rather than taking control.”
The podcast was recorded in the US area of Santa Barbara where the Sussexes now live.
Harry went on to emphasise the need of prioritising self-care and having important conversations about health.
“The more we talk about it the more it becomes normal, and it is normal, and it’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength,” he said.
The pair also called out social media sites that use specific algorithms that don’t promote consuming online material in a healthy way.
“I think it’s very easy to be sucked in and consumed by negativity, but we all have the choice to be able to cut that out of our lives,” Harry said.
“Hate following has become a thing, you don’t need to do that.
"Just as much as we worry about, be concerned, and take notice of what we put in our bellies as a diet, the same applies for our eyes and our mind, what we’re consuming is affecting us.”
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