Meghan’s decision to speak openly about her suicidal thoughts had no doubt challenge a culture of secrecy that has stopped many people from seeking help.
For so many, suicide is unspeakable. Even mental health professionals sometimes avoid saying the “S “word.
That is why Meghan Markle’s decision to talk openly about her suicidal thoughts in her interview with Oprah Winfrey has the potential to change the way we all talk about suicide.
By speaking about her experiences, Meghan helped to erode the foundation that holds the stigma tower that constrains people from talking about their suicidal thoughts. Her disclosure also educates others about the pervasiveness of suicide risk. Undoubtedly, nobody is immune, whether they live in palace or Slum.
It’s a myth that talking about suicide gives somebody the idea.
Research consistently shows that asking somebody about suicide, doesn’t cause or increase suicidal thoughts. However, it is important to highlight the fact that there are strong cultural and religious influences that makes the “S “word unspeakable in some culture and religious groups.
It’s also a myth that most people voluntarily disclose that they’re considering suicide without being asked directly. Even when asked, many people don’t answer honestly because of embarrassment, fears of being hospitalized against their will, fears of being judged, fears that they can’t be helped or a desire not to worry others.
At first, Meghan didn’t speak directly about suicide, either. In her interview with Oprah Winfrey, She said:
“I just didn’t see a solution,” she told Oprah Winfrey.
“But I knew that if I didn’t say it that I would do it — and I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.”
“I would do it.” That’s what she said — not, “I would kill myself” or “I would end my life.” Simply, “it.”
Oprah Winfrey had to say outright, “So, were you thinking of harming yourself?
Were you having suicidal thoughts?”
“Yes,” Meghan said, “this was very, very clear.”
This is why Meghan’s disclosure is a gift to so many people.
Meghan’s story is one of recovery. By encouraging more openness about suicidal thoughts, like Meghan’s, we can send the message to others that they are not alone.
We urge everyone not to be quick to dismiss honest conversations about suicidal thoughts and not to comment about other’s stories that they do not believe that they were suicidal, because it could have ripple effects on friends and families around them who may never open up to ask for help in their time of need.
As Meghan said: “I’m still standing. My hope for people in the takeaway from this is to know... that life is worth living.”
If you are in crisis, you should:
Call on 116 123 (FREE) / Email firstname.lastname@example.org
24-hour crisis helpline (free for everyone). An excellent helpline for when you are in crisis. The Samaritans will listen to you without judgement.
Find out more on how BMHS can support you by visiting www.bamementalhealth.org