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Porter worked closely with Harry, Oprah, co-director Asif Kapadia, and a team of mental health professionals to bring to life the experiences of people who are exploring their own mental health.
She spoke to Insider about working with Harry on the series, and what it was like to witness the “mean-spirited” criticism he has faced after speaking about his struggles.
The criticism didn’t affect Prince Harry’s determination to open up about his own mental health, according to Porter
The five-part series, which premiered on Apple TV+ on May 21, aims to encourage viewers to be able to speak about mental health.
Prince Harry was filmed receiving EMDR trauma therapy, which is designed to help patients work through traumatic memories associated with post-traumatic stress disorder as well as to help those who have experienced anxiety orders.
Harry has made mental health a priority during his recent engagements, and spoke about the subject on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast on May 13 ahead of the docuseries premiere.
Harry told Shepard that he wanted to “break the cycle” of pain and suffering that both himself and his parents experienced.
“It’s hard for Americans to understand the vitriol that’s directed at him and Meghan,” Porter told Insider.
“So just getting a little taste of it, I guess, in some ways I feel protective of him because I didn’t really see that coming. I thought, ‘Who could be unhappy with somebody saying, here’s help if you need it?'” she said. “It does seem really mean-spirited, but, you know, I guess some people will do anything to sell papers.”
Porter said seeing the criticism makes her “admire” Harry even more, “because he certainly understands how he’s going to be treated in some parts of the public.”
“And knowing that was an eventuality — not just a possibility — he still really opened up,” Porter said of Harry’s involvement in the series. “He still worked really hard, and I think what he’s done is really brave and he’s going to help a lot of people.”
Representatives for the Duke of Sussex did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Porter said Harry helped to ease her nerves during their first meeting
Porter met the Duke of Sussex for the first time during what she described as a “long, intense meeting” at Oprah’s house in 2019, where they spoke about their personal experiences.
“I was nervous,” Porter said. “Oprah has us all over to her place, and he was already there when I arrived. And I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to be this ugly American who doesn’t quite know what to do.'”
“He had clearly been in this position before, because before I could even start to stutter or say anything wrong, he just put his hand out and said, ‘Harry. Nice to meet you,’ which I really appreciated because I was like, ‘What do I call him? What do I say?” she added.
Porter said she is “heartened” by the viewers’ emotional responses to the series, saying: “I’ve had so many people saying how meaningful it is for them.”
“I think some of my favorite things have been people who are watching with their families, parents saying they didn’t understand what depression was like for their kid — so people who weren’t able to talk about mental-health issues before are really having a good experience,” she added.
This content was originally published here.