Manchester Mind 'disappointed' by Piers Morgan's comments on Meghan Markle's mental health
- Piers Morgan has come under fire for questioning the authenticity of Meghan Markle opening up about her mental health
- Mental health charity Manchester Mind urges people to listen to those who are struggling
- NQ reporter Katy Rushton gives her take on that Oprah interview
The UK lockdown has had a dramatic effect on the population’s mental health, particularly for students, with the Office for National Statistics recording that 63% of students indicated worsening mental health since the start of the autumn 2020 term as opposed to 57% at the end of November.
Whether or not you keep up with the Royal family, you will no doubt have seen news concerning the issues that were raised in Meghan and Harry's recent interview with Oprah Winfrey.
One of the most shocking revelations which came to light during the interview was Meghan Markle opening up about experiencing suicidal thoughts during her pregnancy, partly as a result of all the negative media coverage she was receiving.
Meghan revealed that she didn’t want to be alive anymore and had 'methodical' thoughts about taking her own life.
While many, including tennis player Serena Williams, hailed Meghan as 'brave' for sharing her story and speaking out, not everyone shared the same opinion.
Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan stated that he didn’t believe Meghan’s claims of suicidal thoughts, even joking that “[He] wouldn’t believe it if she read [him] a weather report…”.
‘I’m sickened by what I’ve had to watch.’— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) March 8, 2021
‘It’s a 2 hour trash-athon of everything the Queen has worked so hard for, while her husband is in hospital.'@piersmorgan starts the show with his reaction to the Harry and Meghan interview.
Tune in tonight @itv at 9pm. pic.twitter.com/AIXKvXtIoq
Morgan's comments later came under fire from UK mental health charity Mind, who posted this statement to their Twitter account.
Morgan stormed off the GMB set the following day after being labelled as ‘pathetic’ and ‘diabolical’ for his behaviour by fellow co-host Alex Beresford, with it later being revealed in a statement by ITV that, following the comments, the presenter was to leave Good Morning Britain for good.
Although the controversy has ended with Piers Morgan leaving GMB and Ofcom recording a record number 41,000 complaints from the public over the incident, labelling someone a liar for opening up about their struggles with their mental health can be incredibly damaging to those who are thinking about seeking the help they need.
Having such a high profile person such as Meghan Markle discuss mental health in such a vulnerable and open way on TV is a big step towards breaking the social stigma around mental illness, with research showing that the number of people seeking mental health support increases in such events where celebrities disclose their own expericenes with mental health.
Elizabeth Simpson, CEO of Manchester Mind said: “We would like to echo the statement from national Mind that we are disappointed and concerned by Piers Morgan’s comments regarding Meghan’s feelings of feeling suicidal.
“It is vital that when people reach out for support or share their experiences of ill mental health they are treated with dignity, respect and empathy.
"We urge anyone who is struggling to ask for help and not suffer in silence.
“Here at Manchester Mind we offer a range of services for adults….and specifically for young people (ages 15-25) we offer advice, peer support, virtual wellbeing café and a listening ear service (phone and email) for anyone in Manchester who is struggling as this difficult time.”
In December of last year, it was reported that 39 ambulances had been called to university campuses for suicide and self-harm in just one term, and with lockdown laws still in place, the general mood of students is likely to stay low for a while.
Ms Simpson gave further advice on how to talk to someone who may be feeling suicidal.
She said: “Ask open questions – these are questions that invite someone to say more than yes or no, such as ‘How are you feeling?’ or ‘What happened next’?
“Try not to judge – it’s important not to blame the person for how they are feeling. They have taken a big step telling you.
“Take them seriously – people who talk about suicide do sometimes act on their feelings. It’s best to assume they are telling the truth about feeling suicidal.
“Give them time – you may find it difficult to hear their answers, but it helps if you let them take the time they need.
“Don’t skirt around the subject – talking about suicide can still feel taboo, but asking direct questions like ‘are you having suicidal thoughts?’ or ‘have you felt like you want to end your own life?’ can help someone talk.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please speak to someone or contact Samaritans on 116 123.
Help from Manchester Mind is also available at 0161 769 5732