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What You Should Take Away from Oprah's Royal Interview

Haley Mullins

Posted on March 12, 2021 01:56

4 users

Oprah's viral interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reveals a little about life as a Royal, but a lot more about where the western world stands in regards to mental health care.

British royalty is no stranger to scandal, but that didn’t stop the worldwide shock and appall towards the Royal Family after Oprah Winfrey’s recent interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, carrying themselves with dignity and offering a transparent account of their tensions with the Royal Family, used the opportunity to speak on their personal experiences with mental health crises, which has generated headlines and reignited discourse on the stigmatized subject.

Meghan Markle’s testimony, in particular, was especially revealing of the strife that has come from being both within and without the Royal Family.  While the interview poses some clear questions regarding the ethics of the royal institution, the biggest takeaways are actually indicative of much larger problems that still exist around the topic of mental health.

 

1. Accessibility to mental health resources is essential, and people from racial/ethnic minority groups are less likely to receive mental health care.

If someone inducted into the royal family can’t get adequate treatment, the numbers are even more staggering for those without the same reach and financial security.  Nearly 30 million adults and children with mental health conditions are going untreated in the US.

Meghan Markle, who is biracial, is not an anomaly.  Several barriers prevent minority populations from receiving quality care including lack of insurance and high cost of treatment, language barriers, inadequate diversity among mental healthcare providers, and a general sense of distrust towards the American healthcare system.

2. The stigma around mental illness still exists and those suffering bear the weight of saving face.

Meghan’s denial of treatment because it “wouldn’t be good for the institution” parallels the stigma that has long existed towards those seeking help--that it makes themselves and those around them look bad.  Misconceptions about those suffering from mental health crises negatively impact a person’s intra- and interpersonal relationships, as well as things like getting and keeping jobs.  Media pressure for people to appear as though they’re living their best lives also discourages those who need help from seeking it.

3. Talking about mental health is important, and providing compassionate space for people to share their experiences is of utmost importance.

Just as Meghan Markle felt she had to tell her husband about her thoughts in order to avoid acting on them, a fundamental part of managing mental health is keeping the discussion open.  Mental health concerns have been of higher concern due to effects from the pandemic, and taking notice of changes in the behavior of our loved ones and providing safe spaces for them to be vulnerable are critical to preventing more lost lives.

 

Beyond the tabloid-worthy drama that often unfolds from the Royal Family is a microcosm of the larger problems that still exist around mental health.  If you take nothing else from The Interview, take this: mental health conditions don’t discriminate, even if the royal institution does.

Haley Mullins

Posted on March 12, 2021 01:56

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Source: CNN

Oprah Winfrey's bombshell interview with Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, highlighted that help for mental health is still...

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