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Dangers lie for those struggling with mental illness in mixed reactions to Meghan, Harry interview

A sad reminder that we need to be very careful in how we approach conversations about mental illness.
Posted at 6:59 AM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 08:59:25-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore and that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought."

This was one of the moments during Oprah's sit down with the couple that left many people shocked.

"We had to go to this event, and I remember him saying, "I don't think you can go." And I said, "I can't be left alone," Meghan said.

After revealing her personal mental health struggles, Meghan received support from around the world but comments also flooded social media calling her a liar.

"Unfortunately alot of people are judged. Society doesn't want to accept mental illness. They think it's a very flawed thing to have. Some people think it is made up," said Anastasia Stalling, an advocate with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Southern Arizona. Stalling told me she has struggled with suicidal thoughts herself.

" I have been very suicidal in times of my life." Stalling says it was those moments that led her to volunteer with NAMI.

"For me, my friends say, well if you need anything let me know, if you're feeling bad. I dont reach out. I keep to myself and you know suffer," Stalling said.

This is one of the reasons why so many people struggle with seeking help. Stalling says some of the reacton we're seeing from Meghan's interview could be dangerous for survivors of suicide and the millions of Americans struggling with suicidal thoughts.

"They're calling her a liar. So, of course they would call somebody else a liar or looking for attention or a thrill seeker but suicide is very real," Stalling said.

Very real especially during this past year. Stalling says suicides in Pima County have gone up 67% during the pandemic for 12 to 17-year-olds.

"It's going younger now as well. We're starting at right around 9 and 12," Stalling added.

A sad reminder that we need to be very careful in how we approach conversations about mental illness.

"it's just like any other illness. Nobody asked for this you know. They didnt ask to be mentally ill. So, you know we need to support them somehow and say what do you need," Stalling said.

If you or someone you know is at risk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. NAMI Southern Arizona also has plenty of resources in our community.