Warning: This blog mentions suicide
Our Claire has something to say…
At the beginning of the week, ITV broadcast Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. In it, Meghan expressed that she had experienced suicidal thoughts after joining the royal family. Considering the institution the royal family is, she was extremely brave to do so. To then be accused of lying must’ve come as a real blow to her and, I for one, was disgusted by the accusations.
We can all have an opinion on whether someone is a liar or not but, unless we were there, we will never know the truth of the matter. So we have to always treat someone’s claims as true – especially ones as serious as suicidal thoughts. The consequences of not doing so can be devastating. We have to foster a culture where people feel able to talk about what is troubling them. This is why Meghan and Harry talking about their mental health difficulties is so invaluable.
In Mind’s response to the interview, they state that “25% of people said hearing a celebrity talk openly about their own mental health had inspired them to seek help or get support for themselves. In turn, more than one in three of those asked said seeing celebrity mental health stories had prompted them to start a conversation with a friend or loved one about mental health, showing how the power of celebrity can be a real force for change in how we all think and act about mental health problems.”
Mind’s further assertion that “feelings of shame and isolation mean people affected by mental health problems go without the help and support they need and deserve” is something I have personal experience of.
Throughout my teenage years living at home, the shame I felt about my gender identity isolated me. Without having anyone I felt I could turn to, and wracked with pain, my thoughts turned suicidal. Thankfully, somewhere within me, I found the courage to continue living but it wasn’t until I got online – finding a community of other trans people – that I found the confidence to deal with what, by that point, had tortured me for decades. So I can only imagine what a difference it would’ve made if I’d grown up now in a more tolerant world with the internet always at my fingertips.
Make no mistake, things are improving but the accusations of lying in response to Meghan’s claims of suicidal thoughts show we still have some way to go. That is why organisations such as WHISC are so vital. As well as being a Hate Crime Reporting Centre, WHISC offer mental health and domestic abuse support groups, crisis support, a Listening Ear service and so much else. Please visit the What’s On page of this website to find out more.
Together we will get through this.
- In case of an emergency, please call 999
- For urgent mental health support, please call Merseycare on 0800 145 6570
- To talk with someone night or day, please call the Samaritans on 116 123
- If you’re under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141
- If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000
- If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and need help, you can call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630