Meghan Markle fought back tears on Tuesday as she spoke on World Mental Health Day at an event in New York City alongside Prince Harry.
The Duchess of Sussex, 42, took to the stage at Project Healthy Minds' World Mental Health Day Festival 2023 at Hudson Yards on 10 October to discuss mental health in the digital age, with a specific focus on raising awareness of making online usage safer for parents and children.
Meghan was joined onstage by husband Prince Harry, 39, with the pair hosting The Archewell Foundation Parents’ Summit: Mental Wellness in the Digital Age at the festival.
Addressing the audience, Meghan spoke of the "emotional impact" the stories she'd heard from different families had on her, calling it "devastating".
She began by saying: "Thank you for being here with us. A year ago we met some of the families, not all of them. At that time it was impossible to not be in tears as I'm sure some of you have been today hearing those stories. You can hear those stories again and again and it's still going to have the same emotional impact because it's just that devastating."
The Duchess went on to speak about social media usage, adding: "As parents, our kids are really young in two-and-a-half and four-and-a-half, but social media is not going away and look, I think by design, there is an entry point that's supposed to be positive and create a community and something has devolved and there's no way to hear that and not try to help these families have their stories be heard."
The summit, which was organised with Harry and Meghan's post-royal organisation Archewell, was organised to help build awareness on how to make online spaces safer for parents and children. The Sussexes wanted to explore how positive changes can come from online environments.
Meghan admitted it was "impossible not to be in tears" after hearing stories from families discussing their own situations and experiences, including tragically losing family members. She and Harry have been working closely behind the scenes with the parents talking at the event, according to PEOPLE, with some having experienced tragic loss connected to their child's social media use.
A source told the publication: "The families have been engaged with The Archewell Foundation for the past year, bolstering community and driving towards solutions. Together, they are united in their mission to share personal experiences, data, and research to ensure the same does not happen to other families."
Prior to speaking at the World Mental Health Day event, Megan and Harry visited the Marcy Lab School, with Harry delivering an inspiring speech to students.
He was met with applause as he told them: “Everyone’s got their own story, reason for being here, your life is still going to be filled with complications and challenges. And if one of you starts to go quiet, doesn’t show up, you need to find out why."
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