Duchess Meghan Markle opens up about her mental health

The Stigma of Suicide

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Meghan Markle revealed on Sunday that she had thoughts of suicide after marrying into the royal family. “That was a very clear, and real, and frightening, constant thought,” said Markle in a CBS exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

She’s not the only person to struggle with mental health. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. While it’s unclear as to how the pandemic has influenced rates, Sandra Goldmeer said one thing is for certain.

“What we do know is that people have been talking more about mental heath, people have been looking for support during mental health crisis, so it’s really good that people like Meghan Markle are talking about it.”

Speaking out helps to end the stigma of suicide.

“If we are challenged mentally or are in crisis, people still have a feeling that they have to tough it out, and do it themselves. And we need to create a culture where people are comfortable and where asking for help is a sign of strength not a sign of weakness,” explained Goldmeer.

If you’re concerned about a loved one, these could be some warning signs:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Feeling overwhelmed and as if they are a burden
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating themselves
  • Giving away belongings

Goldmeer said it’s best to voice your concerns to them directly. “Asking someone about suicide opens up the discussion and can be a preventative factor all in itself.”

For help, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

The Duchess of Sussex told Winfrey that when she was first pregnant with son Archie, there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.” The statement led Winfrey to ask “What?” incredulously and sit in silence for a moment. 

Meghan, who is biracial, declined to say who had this conversation with Harry that he relayed to her, saying that revealing the name would be “very damaging.”

Sunday’s interview—Meghan and Harry’s first since stepping away from royal life—was broadcast first in the U.S.; British audiences didn’t see it until Monday evening.

Meghan said she grew concerned about her son not having a royal title because it meant he wouldn’t be provided security. Meghan said digesting everything while pregnant was “very hard,” but that, more than the “prince” title, she was the most concerned about her son’s safety and protection.

“He needs to be safe,” a teary-eyed Meghan recalled. “We’re not saying don’t make him a prince or princess, whatever it’s going to be. But if you’re saying the title is going to affect their protection, we haven’t created this monster machine around us in terms of clickbait and tabloid fodder. You’ve allowed that to happen, which means our son needs to be safe.”

Meghan said it was hard for her to understand why there were concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin color. She said it was hard for her to “compartmentalize” those conversations.

Winfrey at various points in the interview ran through headlines about Meghan and at one point asked about the mental health impact. Meghan responded that she experienced suicidal thoughts and had sought help through the palace’s human resources department, but was told there was nothing they could do.

Harry and Meghan’s departure from royal life was supposed to be reviewed after a year. On Feb. 19, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple would not return to royal duties and Harry would relinquish his honorary military titles — a decision that made formal, and final, the couple’s split from the royal family.

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