As Prince Harry steps back into the limelight after his decision to step back from his senior royal role, he is helping boost a mental health campaign during the Rugby World Cup

By Simon Perry
January 16, 2020 01:02 PM
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Prince Harry is using his connection to the Rugby League to help improve people’s mental fitness.

The prince is supporting the Rugby League’s mental fitness initiative, which will focus attention on all players, officials, trainers and volunteers working in the sport to look after their own wellbeing and that of those around them.

The goal is that by the end of the sport’s world cup in November 2021, everyone involved in the tournament will have been trained to look after their mental fitness. The rugby league organizers say this is the first major international sporting event to launch a Mental Fitness Charter.

Harry’s support for the initiative mirrors the work that his brother Prince William, 38, is doing to highlight mental fitness through soccer and his involvement with the Football Association. Harry’s involvement comes as he stepped out at Buckingham Palace on Thursday to help host the draw for the world cup — his first official duty since the turmoil of Monday, which saw Queen Elizabeth reluctantly agree to Harry and wife Meghan Markle withdrawing from their frontline royal roles.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
Credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

In his new video message, Harry says, “Rugby League isn’t just a sport, it’s a community. And one that takes care of its own. For many years, it has been at the forefront of promoting and supporting good mental fitness, working hard to build a positive mindset for everyone involved in the sport.

“So, I am proud to support the Rugby League World Cup 2021 Mental Fitness Charter. This Charter will build on the brilliant work already happening in rugby league by committing to training and educating all those involved in the tournament, and the wider rugby league family, not only in how they can look after their own mental fitness but also support others to do the same.”

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
Prince Harry
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The charter lays out a commitment to:

  1. Educate every player, team official, match official, teammate and volunteer to look after their own mental fitness and the mental fitness of those around them
  2. Support tournament players to take their experiences home and develop mental fitness awareness within their own Rugby League communities
  3. Deliver mental fitness workshops to 8,000 young Rugby League players, and their parents
  4. Train grass roots coaches to continue delivering mental fitness workshops and leave a sustainable tournament legacy
  5. Deliver a mental fitness campaign that reaches millions of people worldwide

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The Rugby World Cup, which takes place between October 23 and November 27, 2021 across 16 host cities in England, will be the first time the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions have been staged in a single celebratory event, culminating in finals weekend to crown the champions of each tournament.