Warning: This article talks about suicide.
Of all the groundbreaking revelations to come out of Oprah’s interview with Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex’s disclosure that she has struggled with suicidal thoughts was among the most surprising.
Recalling a particularly dark period in January 2019, Markle says she “just didn’t want to be alive anymore … And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought”.
Markle’s public disclosure of her struggle has been applauded by mental health experts as a courageous, stigma-busting move.
But it’s been derided in certain circles — with some Twitter users, along with British broadcaster Piers Morgan and British business magnate Alan Sugar — accusing Markle of lying. Markle has lodged a complaint with British television station ITV over Morgan’s comments.
If you’re not sure you believe Markle yourself, experts say it can be dangerous to share those views. Here’s why.
People feeling suicidal fear not being taken seriously
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44 years, and most suicides are preventable.
For people experiencing suicidal thoughts, the fear of not being taken seriously already looms large.
“If people fear they won’t be believed, or they won’t be taken seriously, they’ll suffer in silence. That’s when mental health issues can spiral,” says associate professor Jill Newby of the Black Dog Institute.