Queen Consort Camilla tipped to help Harry and Meghan
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Sitting down with activist Deepika Padukone, Meghan Markle gave insight into her experiences with mental health issues. In a frank conversation about depression and suicidal thoughts, the two women recalled the times they have struggled and talked about what helped them out of their hardest moments. The Duchess of Sussex revealed that it was her husband Prince Harry who took a major step in getting her the help she needed.
Deepika explained that she had spoken to a counsellor about her mental health, a choice that Meghan related to having also “found the courage to get help”.
The Duchess said: “I think at my worst point, being finally connected to someone — my husband had found a referral for me to call. And I called this woman. She didn’t know I was even calling her. And she was checking out at the grocery store. I could hear the little beep, beep and I was like ‘hi’… and saying I need help.
“She could hear the dire state that I was in. But I think it’s for all of us to be really honest about what it is that you need and to not be afraid to make peace with that, to ask for it. I think what’s the most illuminating is that you’re willing to talk about it.”
Meghan has previously opened up about her mental health, telling Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that she had suicidal thoughts while pregnant with her son, Archie Harrison. She said: “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. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.
“And I remember how [Harry] just cradled me and I was, I went to the institution and said that I needed to go somewhere to get help, said that I’ve never felt this way before and I need to go somewhere, and they said I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
Meghan explained that she felt extreme distress during her time as a working royal which led her to a mental “breaking point”. She shared with the chat show host her reasoning for doing the interview, specifically for speaking out about her mental health struggles.
The Duchess said: “I share this because there are so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help. And I know personally how hard it is to — not just hard it is but when your voice is silenced, to be told no…Nothing was ever done. So we had to find a solution.”
Meghan and Harry’s exit from the Royal Family is well-documented — they stepped down from their senior positions and relocated to the US in early 2020. Later, Harry admitted that Meghan’s struggles with her mental health contributed to their decision to leave.
In the first episode of ‘The Me You Can’t See,’ which aired on AppleTV+ last year, the Duke claimed he felt “completely helpless” because their attempts to seek help for Meghan were met with “total silence or total neglect” as they “spent four years trying to make it work”.
He told Oprah, who he co-created and executive produced the docuseries with, that they “chose to put our mental health first”. He continued: “That’s what we’re doing and that’s what we will continue to do. Isn’t this all about breaking the cycle and isn’t this all about making sure that history doesn’t repeat itself?”
Here, Harry referred to the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, and her experiences of life within the Firm. The Prince has spoken candidly about how he struggled to cope with grief in the glare of the public eye.
He opened up about his personal experience with therapy, sharing how Meghan helped inspire his mental health journey years before her own.
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In the docuseries, he said: “I am one of the first people to recognise that firstly, I had a fear of — when I first went to therapy — a fear of losing. It was meeting and being with Meghan, I knew that if I didn’t do therapy and fix myself, I was going to lose this woman who I could see spending the rest of my life with.”
Through therapy, Harry said he learned “one of the biggest lessons” in his life. He explained: “You’ve sometimes got to go back and deal with really uncomfortable situations and to be able to process it in order to be able to heal. For me, therapy has equipped me to be able to take on anything. That’s why I’m here now. That’s why my wife is here now.”
Having experienced mental health struggles firsthand, both Harry and Meghan have become involved in working with and supporting charities and organisations that fight to destigmatise mental health issues.
Harry was immediately excited by BetterUp — a virtual coaching company — and their vision to talk about mental fitness rather than mental illness. In March 2021, it was announced that the Prince was set to become the chief impact officer at the company.
At the time, Harry said: “The chief impact officer role for me at BetterUp is 100% about driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness…The more we understand it, well, the more we understand each other.”
Last year, Archewell, the Sussexes’ non-profit organisation, said it would back Mind, the British mental health charity publicly supported Meghan after she spoke about her experiences during the interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said: “We recognise the importance of the Duchess of Sussex sharing her mental health experiences. Too often, feelings of shame and isolation mean people affected by mental health problems go without the help and support they need and deserve.
“We all still have a role to play to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination.”
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