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Tackling the stigma.
POWERHOUSE

Oprah and Prince Harry are making a mental health docuseries for Apple

By Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz

The duke of Sussex, AKA Prince Harry, is teaming up with American royalty Oprah Winfrey to work on a series for Apple focused on mental health.

Winfrey hinted at the series when she appeared on stage at last month’s Apple launch event, at which the tech giant announced plans for its forthcoming streaming service, Apple TV Plus. The collaboration with the British royal will be one of two works Winfrey is working on for the platform; the other will investigate sexual harassment in the workplace. At the launch event, Winfrey identified the goal of the mental health-focused series: “If we do our jobs right, we’re going to replace shame, and we’re going to replace stigma, with wisdom and some compassion and with honestly.”

News of the collaboration was announced via the duke and duchess’s new Instagram page (it’s unclear whether Meghan Markle will be involved with the project, although Winfrey is known to have a friendship with the duchess’s mother, Doria Ragland). According to the caption, Winfrey and the duke have been working on the series for “several months” and will be partners, co-creators, and executive producers on it. The series will focus on “both mental illness and mental wellness, inspiring viewers to have an honest conversation about the challenges each of us faces, and how to equip ourselves with the tools to not simply survive, but to thrive.”

The British royals are notoriously buttoned-up when it comes to discussions around mental health, but in recent years Harry, alongside the duke and duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate Middleton), have helped spearhead Heads Together, a campaign that seeks to tackle mental illness stigmas and fund new mental health services, according to its website. William and Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, was also outspoken about mental health; in recent years Harry has spoken openly about his own struggles, and also organized mental health services for military veterans via his Invictus Games Foundation.

The yet-untitled, multi-part series is also a huge get for Apple, whose foray into streaming will be marked by the launch of the show in 2020. The tech titan’s service is poised to compete with Netflix, as well as Amazon and HBO, and attaching a powerhouse trio to its debut content project is no doubt a sign that it means business.