Prince Harry's Invictus Games launches podcast to support NHS workers

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·Royal Correspondent
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Prince Harry has praised the work of NHS staff during the pandemic as he revealed the Invictus Games, which he founded, is launching a podcast as part of a collaborative support project.

Harry, 36, said NHS workers had been “engaged in a new kind of battle” as they continue to treat thousands of coronavirus patients everyday.

He revealed the Invictus Games foundation, which was set up for injured and wounded service personnel in 2014, will work with the NHS for people to “learn from each other” through a new podcast.

One of the guests on the podcast will be Harry’s friend and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant JJ Chalmers.

The Duke of Sussex, patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, said: “For a year now, NHS workers have been engaged in a new kind of battle. They have consistently set-aside their own physical and emotional health in the service of others.

“This service and sacrifice resonates deeply with so many in the Armed Forces community. With this ongoing project, we know that the NHS and Invictus communities will learn from each other, support each other, and lead conversations that everyone can draw from.

“It is from these shared experiences I hope people can find strength, compassion, and understanding, and the inspiration they need for their own recovery and resilience.”

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 20:  Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge at the Invictus Games on October 20, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.  (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Harry and Meghan at the Invictus Games in October 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

The podcast will consist of conversations between people from the Invictus Games community and the NHS, and the first one will involve Glenn Haughton, the Armed Forces Mental Health Champion chatting to the host, former soldier Michael Coates.

Haughton will discuss how to reconnect with the rest of your family when you have been working away and the challenges that surround returning to the family unit.

The collaboration will also include the launch of a 5k challenge for NHS staff.

Announcing the plans, an Invictus Games statement added: “The podcasts form part of a comprehensive support package that is available to all NHS staff during the pandemic, including access to dedicated professionally-led helplines, free access to a range of mental health apps, coaching sessions and other mental health and wellbeing support.”

Other guests include Emanuel Ansah (Manny), a commonwealth soldier from the Royal Army Medical Corporation, Ibrah Ali (Ibi) who joined the British Army completing operational tours in Iraq, David Wiseman who served in the Infantry in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Dave Henson with operational service in the Royal Engineers, Royal Marine John James (JJ) Chalmers and Ellie Marks, from the US Army.

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THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MAY 09: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex visits Sportcampus Zuiderpark to mark the official launch of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 on May 9, 2019 in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Prince Harry, at the official launch of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020. The games have since been delayed twice because of the pandemic. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Prerana Issar, chief people officer for NHS England and NHS Improvement said: “This partnership offers practical support to further complement the already extensive help available for our hard-working staff from the mental health hotline exclusively for NHS workers, through to access to health and wellbeing apps which thousands of staff have already benefitted from.”

Dominic Reid, the chief executive officer of the Invictus Games Foundation, said: “We’ve seen how the power of sport can help the recovery journey of service personnel post-trauma.

“By taking some of the lessons learnt over the last few years, these conversations really bring to life the different support mechanisms that are useful for everyone to take a little inspiration from.”

Harry launched the Invictus Games in 2014 and they have been held all over the world since then.

However he has been forced to delay the 2020 games twice, with plans to hold them in The Hague delayed until 2022 now, because of ongoing restrictions.

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TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 25:  Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend the Wheelchair Tennis on day 3 of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 at Nathan Philips Square on September 25, 2017 in Toronto, Canada.  The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for the Armed Forces.  (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Prince Harry introduced the world to his girlfriend Meghan Markle at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

This collaboration reflects the Duke of Sussex’s commitment to mental health issues, something he and his brother, Prince William, worked to raise during their shared time in the Royal Foundation.

The brothers, and the Duchess of Cambridge, launched Heads Together as a trio, in May 2016.

The Cambridges have also continued their mental health work during the pandemic, launching Our Frontline in 2020 to provide support for all key workers who had to keep going during the coronavirus crisis.

William, 38, has also been volunteering on the text based messaging platform Shout!, which provides 24/7 listeners for people in crisis.

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