The White House praises Meghan Markle’s openness on mental health struggles

The White House press secretary has commended Meghan Markle’s decision to share her mental health struggles

UNSPECIFIED - UNSPECIFIED: In this handout image provided by Harpo Productions and released on March 5, 2021, Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on A CBS Primetime Special premiering on CBS on March 7, 2021. (Photo by Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese via Getty Images)
(Image credit: Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese via Getty Images)

The White House has commended Meghan Markle for her honesty about her mental health struggles in her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey. 

The Biden administration has praised Meghan Markle for her honesty on her mental health struggles during her widely-watched interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night. In response to reporters asking for comment on the Primetime special, White House press secretary Jen Psaki shared her admiration for the Duchess of Sussex’s candidness on her experience with suicidal thoughts. 

“Obviously many of us caught the interview, as many Americans did and many people around the world," she said. 

Psaki did not confirm whether or not President Joe Biden had seen the interview, but suggested that he would have fully supported Meghan’s decision to share her difficult journey with the public. 

“For anyone to come forward and speak about their own struggles with mental health and tell their own personal story, that takes courage. That's certainly something the president believes," she said. 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House February 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has praised Meghan Markle's openness about mental health. 

(Image credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Psaki also took the opportunity to emphasize the Biden administration’s prioritization of mental health services, adding that the president has “talked about the importance of investing in a lot of these areas.”

Psaki’s positive comments come after Meghan opened up to Oprah about her mental health struggles while settling into her new life in Britain. The duchess admitted that the pressure of royal fame and the lack of support from Buckingham Palace drove her to a dark place, leaving her hopeless and suicidal when she was pregnant with Archie. 

"I was 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,” she told Oprah. 

“But I knew that if I didn't say it - then I would do it. I just didn't want to be alive anymore."

Meghan noted one memory in particular, recalling the photographs of an event that haunt her to this day. She and Harry attended the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Totem at Royal Albert Hall in 2019, just hours after she admitted to him she was feeling suicidal. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Cirque du Soleil Premiere Of "TOTEM" at Royal Albert Hall on January 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Meghan recalls crying every time the lights went out at the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Totem in 2019. 

(Image credit: Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

"Every time those lights went down in that royal box, I was just weeping," she said.

"You have no idea what’s going on for someone behind closed doors. You've no idea."

She went on to urge viewers to remember that people’s suffering isn’t always visible, adding that 'even the people that smile and shine the brightest lights' can feel pain. "You need to have compassion for what is actually potentially going on.”

Several notable people have come forward in support of the duchess since the interview aired, including her friend, Serena Williams, who condemned the cruelty Meghan has experienced in a touching message on social media. Hillary Clinton also jumped to the royal’s defense, blasting the press’s treatment of Meghan during a Washington Post live event to mark International Women’s Day on Monday. 

“Their cruelty in going after Meghan was just outrageous,” the former US State secretary said. “And the fact she did not get more support, that the reaction was, you know, let's just paper it over and pretend that it didn't happen or it will go away, just keep your head down, well, you know, this young woman was not about to keep her head down, you know, this is 2021." 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.