"This is about optimization of self. This is about being the best you can be," Prince Harry said

By Phil Boucher
April 27, 2020 10:59 AM
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Prince Harry is launching a new initiative that supports one of his most important causes: helping the military.

HeadFIT — a new online platform that provides U.K. military personnel with 24/7 access to mental healthcare and advice — made its debut on Monday morning. It marks Harry's first major initiative since he stepped back from his royal duties on March 31.

Created by The Royal Foundation's mental health campaign Heads Togetherlaunched by Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton in April 2016 — HeadFIT was first announced by the Duke of Sussex in October 2017.

It has since been developed in association with the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) and leading mental health experts at Kings College London.

“HeadFIT has been almost three years in the making, and I am extremely grateful for everyone who has been on this journey with us,” Prince Harry says in a statement about the platform, which includes tools for breathing exercises, relaxation and improved body posture designed specifically for both serving and retired military personnel.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
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The goal is that these techniques can be easily integrated into everyday life, whether that involves guard duty, performing ceremonial duties for Queen Elizabeth or simply relaxing at home.

“Everyone who has worked on it, to create what we have today, should be incredibly proud and excited for the impact it will have,” adds Harry, who served for 10 years in the U.K. armed forces, including two tours of Afghanistan.

He continues, "I've long believed the military community should lead the way for the rest of society. For too long we have been waiting for problems to arise and then reacting to them. HeadFIT is a proactive approach to mental fitness, focusing on our own potential to increase our performance, using proven methods in sport science.

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"This is about optimisation of self,” he adds. “This is about being the best you can be. This is about gaining an advantage, whether facing an opponent or overcoming a challenging situation. This is about building resilience that will match that of most world class athletes and prepare you for everyday stress. To be HeadFIT, is to be at your peak performance.”

The Duke of Sussex — who has agreed to no longer use his HRH title as a condition of his separation from the royal family — is now living in Los Angeles with wife Meghan Markle and son Archie.

While they've kept a low profile — “They only leave their house for charity work,” a source told PEOPLE — the couple has taken the time to distribute meals for L.A.-based Project Angel Food.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

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On Friday it was also revealed that Harry and Meghan sent a personal letter to the family of terminally ill 18-year-old Holly Smallman, who tragically died during lockdown on March 27. Harry previously spent some time with Holly at the WellChild Awards in October 2015.

“I feel so fortunate to have met Holly in 2015 when her sister Ruby received a WellChild Award. Holly was evidently a very special and happy girl, despite her significant challenges, and she clearly had an extra special relationship with her siblings,” Harry said in the message.

“It was a great privilege to spend time with you all, particularly Holly,” he continued.