Prince Harry is calling on everyone to dial back smartphone use to give themselves a little mental health boost.
During a speech in northern England on Thursday, the prince addressed the importance of psychological wellbeing and how too much tech can contribute to negative emotions.
“I read recently that young people check their phones at least 150 times per day,” he said. “I’m sure we could all be more effective and efficient if we took a moment to process our thoughts rather than rushing from one thing to the next.”
Harry is certainly onto something: Smartphone use is only growing, especially among young people. And that can have negative implications when it comes to a person’s health.
Research shows excessive device use can mess with adolescents’ mental health, especially if they’re already at risk for behavioral issues. Studies have found that social media ― which is often accessed on mobile devices ― can increase the risk for depression and anxiety. Smartphones may also be linked to sleep problems and other psychological health risks if they’re overused.
Experts recommend taking tech breaks in order to feel calmer and allow the brain to recover from digital exposure. And, of course, that’s not the only way to take care of your mental health: Therapy, lifestyle habits like exercise and medication have all been shown to help people cope with mental health problems.
In his speech on Thursday, the prince highlighted the work he’s done with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge through their mental health initiative, Heads Together. The organization, which launched in April of last year, aims to reduce stigma and start conversations around mental health.
Harry also stressed the need to treat mental health conditions with the same compassion and gravity as physical health issues.
“I cannot tell you how pleased William, Catherine and I are that the dial seems to have shifted and that there is now greater understanding, compassion and kindness for anyone who opens up about their struggles,” he said. “But let’s not kid ourselves that the job is done — there is much, much more that we can do at every level to make conversations about mental health as common place as those about physical health.”
We agree. Keep the advocacy coming, royal family!