Prince Harry today said the mind is ‘like a muscle’ because it needs to be ‘honed, trained, rehabbed and coached’ as he used the Invictus Games Foundation to promote his mental health startup BetterUp.

The Duke of Sussex was speaking in his role as ‘chief impact officer’ at the California-based coaching company, which has announced that it is teaming up with the Foundation where he is a founding patron.

Harry said that the Games are ‘about empowering every single person around the world’, as BetterUp revealed it will offer one-to-one coaching and personalised assessments to support people involved with Invictus.

The Foundation said it will provide access to 500 members at no cost to the individual, and the announcement comes ahead of the Games in The Hague from this Saturday until April 22 after being delayed by Covid-19.

Harry founded the games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the world, by giving them the challenge of competing in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.

The 37-year-old said: ‘At its heart, the Invictus Games is about empowering every single person around the world. It’s a worldwide display of resilience, determination, and community for which each of us can draw inspiration.

‘I couldn’t think of a better new partner for the Invictus Games Foundation than the mental fitness platform BetterUp. The mind is like a muscle: it needs to be honed, trained, rehabbed, and coached. The men and women I served with understand this, the Invictus community knows this, and now the world is beginning to see it too.

The Duke of Sussex (centre) at the launch of Team UK for the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 in London on October 29, 2019

The Duke of Sussex speaks to Team UK at their final training camp at Brunel University in Uxbridge last week on April 6

The Duke of Sussex speaks to Team UK at their final training camp at Brunel University in Uxbridge last week on April 6

‘I’m honoured to bring the work we do at BetterUp to Invictus and look forward to expanding the support systems that service members and veterans depend on to achieve remarkable feats.’

San Francisco-based BetterUp is valued at $4.7billion ($3.6billion) and Harry’s role, which he took on in March last year, includes product strategy, philanthropy, and public advocacy related to mental health.

Harry’s full statement as Invictus Games reveals BetterUp partnership  

Speaking in his role as Chief Impact Officer at BetterUp, Prince Harry said in a statement: ‘At its heart, the Invictus Games is about empowering every single person around the world.

‘It’s a worldwide display of resilience, determination, and community for which each of us can draw inspiration.

‘I couldn’t think of a better new partner for the Invictus Games Foundation than the mental fitness platform BetterUp.

‘The mind is like a muscle: it needs to be honed, trained, rehabbed, and coached.

‘The men and women I served with understand this, the Invictus community knows this, and now the world is beginning to see it too.

‘I’m honoured to bring the work we do at BetterUp to Invictus and look forward to expanding the support systems that service members and veterans depend on to achieve remarkable feats.’

The Duke is also involved in the firm’s commitment to ‘Pledge 1%’ – a movement which encourages companies to donate 1 per cent of equity, staff time, product or profit to their communities.

Harry has said BetterUp envisioned a ‘world where growth and transformation are possible for everyone, and everyone has access to the support and care they need to thrive’.

Last December, Harry was criticised for advising people to leave their jobs in favour of bolstering their mental health during an interview about his role at BetterUp.

He also said at the time that the world was at the ‘beginning of the mental health awakening’ and spoke about ‘continuing to pioneer the conversation’.

Meanwhile, earlier this week it was revealed that Harry’s wife Meghan Markle will join him at the competition.

Harry founded the games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the challenge of competing in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.

Last night, a spokesman for the duke and duchess confirmed that Meghan will join Harry at the Games in The Hague for the first few days.

The Invictus Games was where the couple chose to make their first public appearance together almost five years ago.

Meghan made her first appearance at an official engagement attended by Harry on September 24 2017 when she attended the Invictus Games opening ceremony in Toronto, Canada, although the pair sat about 18 seats apart.

The following day, the pair emerged hand in hand to make their first official public appearance together at the wheelchair tennis.

Earlier yesterday, Team UK competitors said they would like to see Meghan, and the couple’s children, two-year-old Archie and nine-month-old Lili, at the Games. The children are not expected to be in attendance.

Daniel O’Connor, 31, from Hereford, is competing in archery and indoor rowing, and said Harry is ‘someone who cares a lot’.

Mr O’Connor, who suffers from chronic pain, said: ‘He has in his mind the things he wants to achieve in his life, the things he’d like to see change, and he tries to work towards them.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend Global Citizen Live in New York City on September 25 last year

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend Global Citizen Live in New York City on September 25 last year

Prince Harry and Meghan watch wheelchair tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada, on September 25, 2017

Prince Harry and Meghan watch wheelchair tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada, on September 25, 2017

BetterUp today announced that it is teaming up with the Invictus Games Foundation where the duke is a founding patron

BetterUp today announced that it is teaming up with the Invictus Games Foundation where the duke is a founding patron

‘And if everyone had that attitude you can imagine how different the world would be.’

BetterUp: The Silicon Valley mental health start-up that hired Harry

BetterUp describes itself as company that ‘combines coaching with dynamic and personalised digital experiences to accelerate members’ long-term professional development and drive personal growth’.

The Duke of Sussex was unveiled in March 2021 as the 'chief impact officer' at BetterUp with this corporate black and white photograph of him released at the same time

The Duke of Sussex was unveiled in March 2021 as the ‘chief impact officer’ at BetterUp with this corporate black and white photograph of him released at the same time

It sells executive coaching and therapy services to individuals and large companies, and employs clinical therapists and ‘executive coaches’ on contract to provide those services. 

One blue chip company that recently employed their services was charged $2,000 for six months of unlimited coaching for each employee. 

Those who sign up for their app can receive one-to-one video therapy or coaching through the app.

It was founded by two USC graduates Alexi Robichaux and Eduardo Medina. Mr Robinchaux grew up in Dallas, Texas, and has described growing up with his father a biblical linguist who translates from Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. 

His mother is an immigrant from Greece who was an executive assistant at Texas Instruments. In high school he started a non-profit called Youth Leadership for America. Mr Medina is also a USC graduate who worked at management consultant companies Altamont Capital Partners and Bain & Company before starting BetterUp.

Asked if he would like to see Meghan at the event, Mr O’Connor said: ‘I think everyone in the Games, all the competitors, are bringing friends and family, and I think if we have the right to bring friends and family then surely Prince Harry does.’

He said anyone who wants to support the Invictus Games is welcome with open arms, adding that Meghan has been to previous Invictus events.

‘So she has shown a continued support of the Games. I think she’s doing a great job,’ he said, adding: ‘I would love to see her at the Games. If she is, great, and I hope they bring the kids as well so they’ve got the whole family there.’

Lucy Holt, 29, from Lincoln, said it would be ‘a nice surprise’ if the family turned up. Ms Holt, who is competing in powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair basketball and athletics, said Harry’s family are very supportive of the Invictus Games.

‘I think it’s a great way to kind of highlight to his family what he has achieved and what he is still achieving,’ she said.

Ms Holt said the Games are great for children to see as they showcase what can be achieved with disabilities.

Jason Finlay, 50, who lives in Amesbury, said he found Harry ‘very relaxing’ to talk to on the couple of times they met.

Mr Finlay, who is competing in sitting volleyball and athletics, said: ‘It was great to meet him, to be honest. You can see the military ethos that he has through his military service.’

He said it would be nice to meet Meghan, adding she would be a good ambassador for Invictus.

Harry and Meghan, who live in the US, did not attend the memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh in London last month.

Harry is bringing a claim against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the same degree of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.

The duke wants to bring his children to visit from the US, but he and his family are ‘unable to return to his home’ because it is too dangerous, his legal representative has said. 

Today,  a former head of royal protection at Scotland Yard suggested that Harry’s safety will be secured by his own team or he may be given ‘VIP status’ by Dutch authorities during his trip to The Hague.

It will be Meghan’s trip to Europe since the couple quit as senior working royals more than two years ago.  

Dai Davies, a former head of royal protection at the Metropolitan Police, said the idea that Harry is unable to come to the UK due to safety concerns is ‘sheer unadulterated nonsense’, adding that the duke is ‘not an expert in security’.

It is not known whether Harry will visit the UK and see his grandmother while he is on this side of the Atlantic for the Invictus Games.

Asked if he would say the UK is a potentially unsafe place for Harry, Mr Davies said: ‘No I wouldn’t. He would get the same risk assessment as every other royal.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle declined to attend Prince Philip's memorial service with the Queen amid a legal row over the security they would get. The Queen is pictured leaving the service at Westminster Abbey with her son Prince Andrew

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle declined to attend Prince Philip’s memorial service with the Queen amid a legal row over the security they would get. The Queen is pictured leaving the service at Westminster Abbey with her son Prince Andrew

(Front row left to right) Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Princess Royal, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke of York, The Earl of Wessex, the Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and Viscount Severn. (second row left to right) The Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of Cambridge, Peter Phillips, Isla Phillips, Savannah Phillips, Mia Tindall, Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall during a service of thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey in London on March 29

(Front row left to right) Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Princess Royal, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke of York, The Earl of Wessex, the Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and Viscount Severn. (second row left to right) The Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of Cambridge, Peter Phillips, Isla Phillips, Savannah Phillips, Mia Tindall, Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall during a service of thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey in London on March 29

‘Most of them now don’t get full-time protection or even half-time protection, so the truth is the UK is far safer than most other places. And with great respect, Harry is not an expert in security.’

Meghan at Nuku'alofa Airport in Tonga on October 25, 2018

Meghan at Nuku’alofa Airport in Tonga on October 25, 2018

Mr Davies said that if Harry had attended the memorial service for Philip last month he would have been protected due to being with family members. ‘But he chose not to. That’s his prerogative,’ he said.

Speaking about the likely security arrangements in The Hague, Mr Davies said: ‘The truth is I have no doubt that he will be protected, whether he takes his own team or whether the Dutch authorities give him some kind of VIP status.

‘The truth is, if there’s a risk both countries – ours and the Netherlands – have sophisticated systems of determining risk.

‘This country has determined he is no longer at risk. That may or may not be true, but people far better qualified than I am now can make that decision and they never make it lightly.’

Asked if he thinks the Dutch police will be involved in providing security for the couple, Mr Davies said it depends on the risk assessment.

He said the Ministry of Defence is involved in looking after royals in the Netherlands, and while there is a royal protection squad he said it is not as big or as experienced as the UK’s squad.

‘But they’re very competent people, the Dutch, and I would have every faith that they would do their best,’ he said.

Mr Davies pointed out that Harry is going to a military event and if it is deemed there is a risk then there will be security in place. 

Team UK will compete in nine sports at the Invictus Games: athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming and sitting volleyball.

Harry played an instrumental role in bringing the Games to the UK in 2014 when 300 competitors from 13 countries took part in the inaugural competition in London.

A trip to the Warrior Games in Colorado a year earlier had been the inspiration, as Harry saw first hand how sport helped inspire recovery and support rehabilitation of wounded troops.



Source link