In Oprah Winfrey’s bombshell interview Sunday with Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, one takeaway was that help for mental health is still hard to get — even if you’re part of the British royal family.
In Meghan’s first public comments since she and her husband, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, stepped down as senior royals, she described herself as a victim of a Buckingham Palace that suppressed her personal freedom and worried about how dark the skin of her son Archie would be. She said these experiences severely impacted her mental health, resulting in suicidal thoughts that made the Duchess feel she couldn’t be left without supervision.
“I was really ashamed to say it at the time, and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry especially, because I know how much loss he’s suffered,” Meghan told Oprah. “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.”
The Duchess said she had informed the palace she needed to go somewhere for professional help, but was told that she couldn’t because “it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
“What comes with status, as it does with others, is a sense of shame, is a sense of this stigma that might come with being perceived as something’s wrong with, less than, that somebody is tarnished,” said Helen Neville, a professor of educational psychology and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.