meghan-markle

Meghan Markle's openness about mental health is more important than ever

We're shining a light on the Duchess of Sussex's courage ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 October

Bridie Wilkins

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, bravely opened up about having suicidal thoughts while pregnant with son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, during her tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.

It was one of the most emotional moments in the chat, and her candour immediately sparked a conversation about mental health.

SEE: Meghan Markle reveals she tried to seek professional help after having suicidal thoughts

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WATCH: HELLO! Insider: Meghan and Harry's Oprah interview

"Look, 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 has suffered, but I knew that if I didn’t say it, then I would do it," Meghan told Oprah. "I just didn’t want to be alive anymore."

Meghan explained that the relentless, negative media coverage of her meant she felt extreme distress, but she went on to confide in her husband, Prince Harry, and then reached out for help from a professional. Her story is one of resilience, and has made big waves in terms of lessening the stigma around mental health.

MORE: Prince Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah - all the surprising revelations we learnt

MORE: Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview as it happened

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Meghan said that Harry "cradled" her after she shared her feelings

Her courage carried even more weight for coming at a time when the whole world was going through a pandemic. According to the Office for National Statistics, depression rates doubled since the coronavirus pandemic began, thanks to the stress and loneliness that lockdown brought for many. And in the US, KFF revealed that four in 10 adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression since the pandemic began, compared with one in three adults from January to June 2019.

Meghan speaking out about her experience with depression and suicidal thoughts encourages others to do the same, while her story of success through speaking out about her feelings and coming out the other side gives people going through similar situations a glimmer of hope.

It teaches us that there is no shame in speaking out about our mental health, and it teaches us that sharing our problems with loved ones – and health care professionals – can help you feel better.

If you have been affected by this story and wish to seek help, Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you're feeling, or if you're worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.

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