Oprah’s Meghan and Harry Interview: The Critical Role of Spouses in Preventing Suicides
March 8, 2021
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2017. Photo Credit: Mark Jones.
Millions of us tuned in last night to watch the much-anticipated Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Among the bombshell revelations was a discussion of how deeply Meghan’s mental health was affected by the constant media scrutiny, blatant racism, perpetuation of falsehoods about her and her character, and lack of protection from “the Institution” that marred her first years as a royal. Meghan felt so low that she considered suicide. Yet, through the support of her friends and family she was able to find happiness in a new life. Meghan is an inspiration—particularly to young women of color—and should be commended for the bravery she has displayed.
Equally revelatory was the role that her husband played. He showed what loving someone through a mental health crisis could look like. Let’s examine the steps Prince Harry took to support his wife.
- He listened to his wife’s concerns for her own wellbeing. Prince Harry believed Meghan when she told him how deeply she was pain. Having experienced mental health issues of his own, he responded with compassion.
- He didn’t leave her alone after she told him she was thinking of taking her own life. Meghan described how, the same day that she told Prince Harry of her suicidal thoughts, they had a public event to attend. At first, Prince Harry was worried that attending would be asking too much of Meghan. When she explained that she was scared of what she might do if she were left alone, Prince Harry took her seriously and they attended the event together.
- He put aside the stigma associated with mental health and asked for help. In the interview, Prince Harry talked about how he went to his royal relatives for help. He was embarrassed to admit Meghan was struggling, but pushed past those feelings because her health was more important.
- He removed his family from a toxic environment. When it became clear that nothing was going to change, Prince Harry protected his family from what had become a toxic situation. He and Meghan moved first to Canada and then to the United States. While Meghan was likely an equal partner in making that decision, Prince Harry willingly separated himself from his birthplace in order to put his wife’s mental health first.
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