White House says it took ‘courage’ for Meghan Markle to publicly discuss mental-health struggles with Oprah

Markle
Meghan Markle told Oprah Winfrey she had suicidal thoughts while she was an active member of the British royal family. Michele Spatari/Getty Images
  • The White House applauded Meghan Markle for discussing her mental health with Oprah Winfrey.
  • “That takes courage. That’s certainly something the president believes,” Jen Psaki said on Monday.
  • Markle told Winfrey that she had suicidal thoughts while a member of the British royal family.
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The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, on Monday applauded Meghan Markle for candidly discussing her mental health in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey alongside her husband, Prince Harry, about leaving the British royal family.

“Obviously, many of us caught the interview. Meghan Markle is a private citizen and so is Harry at this point,” Psaki said. “For anyone to come forward and speak about their own struggles with mental health and to tell their personal story – that takes courage. That’s certainly something the president believes.”

During the interview, which aired on Sunday, Markle discussed the immense pressures she faced while she was an active member of the royal family, including British tabloids’ relentlessly negative coverage of her life. Markle told Winfrey that she had suicidal thoughts but faced pushback when she tried to get help.

“I was ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry. But I knew that if I didn’t say it, then I would do it,” Markle told Winfrey. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”

Markle said it was “a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.” At one point, Markle said, she consulted a senior royal about seeking help and going into inpatient care but was told that this “wouldn’t be good for the institution.” She didn’t identify the person, and Buckingham Palace didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Harry said that his own mental health in addition to Markle’s, as well as concerns for the well-being of their son, Archie, were a large part of why they left the royal family.

“I took matters into my own hands,” he said. “I need to do this for my family. This is not a surprise to anybody. It’s really sad that it’s got to this point. But I got to do something for my own mental health, for my wife’s, and for Archie’s as well.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.