Lancashire therapists praise Meghan Markle's open discussion about mental health issues
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In a two hour tell-all interview with her husband Prince Harry, which aired in the UK on Monday, Meghan revealed details of her mental health and how it was affected by the Royal Family.
She explained that she got to a stage where she “just didn’t want to be alive anymore”.
Oprah Winfrey asked Meghan what she had meant by describing her life as "almost unsurvivable," to which Meghan replied: "I just didn’t see a solution. I would sit up at night, and I was just like I don’t understand how all of this is being churned out and again I wasn’t seeing it, but it’s almost worse when you feel it through the expression of my mum or my friends or them calling me crying just like ‘Meg, they’re not protecting you’.
“And I realised that it was all happening just because I was breathing. And I was really ashamed to say it at the time, and ashamed to have to admit it, to Harry especially, because I know how much loss he suffered.
“But I knew that if I didn’t say it that I would do it, and I just didn’t want to be alive anymore."
Meghan's admission came under fire from Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan, who said he "did not believe a word she said" in the interview, adding: "The fact that she's fired up this onslaught against our Royal Family I think is contemptible."
His comments on Monday drew criticism from mental health charity Mind, which said it was “disappointed and concerned” by his comments after Meghan said she had had suicidal thoughts.
He has since stood by his claims, tweeting: "On Monday, I said I didn't believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview. I've had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don't."
"Freedom of speech is a hill I'm happy to die on. Thanks for all the love, and hate. I'm off to spend more time with my opinions."
But Chorley-based mental health charity Lancashire Mind said the revelation from Meghan that she had had suicidal thoughts should be applauded, in the hope it would encourage others to seek help if they need it.
"As a mental health charity working hard to make it easier for people to talk openly about their mental health, we applaud Meghan Markle for being open and honest about her own experience," a spokesman for the charity said.
"We know that many people find it difficult to be open about their mental health, which means they often don't access support, which can lead to becoming more unwell and, for some people, to suicide.
"When a well-known figure talks openly about their own mental health, it helps to encourage others to do the same by breaking down the stigma around mental health.
"We encourage anyone who is experiencing poor mental health to talk to someone, whether a friend, a colleague, a health professional or a helpline. Talking about what you are experiencing can be the first step towards improving your mental health."
Mel Greenhalgh, cognitive behavioural psychotherapist at Lancashire Therapy Lounge in Mowbray Drive, Blackpool, explained how she thought different generations of the public had reacted in opposing ways to Meghan's mental health struggles.
But Mel hoped that by speaking publicly about her mental health, Meghan had provided a platform for younger people to do the same, and access help.
"The way in which Meghan and Harry have chosen to share their experiences, and the timing of this, has certainly raised disapproval and criticism around the authenticity and genuineness of Megan's experiences of suicidal thoughts, particularly within the older generations," Mel said.
"For this group in our local area, I would generally expect that this could increase the stigma of talking about suicidal thoughts due to fears that in disclosing their thoughts, the authenticity of them could be questioned.
"However, it has also been reported that the younger generation support Meghan and Harry and their exit from the Royal Family more widely, and so there is a possibility that the younger age group in our local area will experience the TV interview as empowering and this may provide the platform for them to speak more freely about suicidal thoughts, and to seek help."