Markle: Mental health awareness in the Mountain State

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – More than 17 million people watched Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle.

In the two-hour-long interview, the Duchess revealed she fought depression and even considered suicide, something that claimed the lives of nearly 50,000 Americans in 2019.

Markle said she was denied mental health services by the palace because it might result in bad press.

“So were you thinking of harming yourself, were you having suicidal thoughts?” asked Oprah Winfrey.

“Yes, this was very, very clear,” replied Markle.

This same admission of desperation reaches into the Mountain State.

First Choice Services Communications and Marketing Director, Sheila Moran said, “it really struck me that although she seems to be a princess in a different world than most of us, the circumstances are not all that different.”

The stigma that even the words “mental health” are a sign of “weakness“.

“I think that that’s still a barrier for a lot of people, even here in West Virginia,” remarks Moran.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 330 West Virginians took their own lives in 2019.

Oftentimes, feelings of unhappiness, stress and anxiousness are ignored and go untreated.

It’s even more critical now.

In February of this year, the magazine “Nature” reported researchers are worried by the dramatic uptick seen in anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prevent Suicide WV Director, Barri Faucett said, “one thing that has been beneficial if anything from this pandemic is that it has increased a focus on mental health – it’s reminded us that everyone has mental health and we need to take care of it – if it needs taken care of.”

It’s become a common saying these days: “it’s ok to not feel okay” and if you are, click here for ways to find help. More additional resources here.

 If you are thinking of hurting yourself, or if you are concerned that someone you know may be suicidal, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by phone 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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