Good Morning, Good Riddance.
ITV, the channel that talks mental health while delivering mental trauma.
By Megan Haf Donoher
Image courtesy of Paul Kagame via Flickr
Piers Morgan has sensationally left the ITV breakfast show, Good Morning Britain. This has come after the statement in which he admitted that he did not believe that Meghan Markle contemplated suicide while pregnant with her son, Archie, after being subjected to numerous accounts of abuse and racism. A highly dangerous precedent to set on a big TV network.
Susanna Reid, who has consistently remained complicit even during his most disputed remarks by remaining silent, stated that Meghan’s mental health was concerning. Piers responded with “Who did you go to? What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she says, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report”. He later clarified that suicide remains an issue that must be taken seriously while remaining adamant that Meghan was being untruthful. By and large, Piers Morgan is nothing short of a self-appointed expert casting slander on the legitimacy of mental health.
Despite Piers being known for his outrageous and outspoken manner, this striking comment left thousands demanding that ITV conduct an investigation into the matter. With over 41,000 complaints made to Ofcom, their highest record to date, ITV have since launched an inquiry into the episode.
Not only was Piers’ dismissal of a woman’s mental health broadcasted on national television, but in 2019, ITV launched their mental health campaign, Get Britain Talking, encouraging people to connect and reach out more often. So, what is it to be? Because ITV’s commitment to mental health has taken yet another blow by this disgraced remark that so clearly undermines the seriousness of the issue at hand. Author Matt Haig affirms that Piers’ comment is the ‘epitome of mental health stigma’, the stigma ITV claim to be actively combating.
The frightening reality is that while Meghan nor Harry are likely to hear Piers’ comments, many others who have faced similar experiences will. There is a certain strength and vulnerability in letting yourself be honest by asking for help and admitting when you’re struggling that comments such as Piers’ disregard. And yet, there remains a power in the visibility for mental health, specifically for depression, in Meghan’s interview. The charity, Mind, recognises the importance of high-profile people addressing this, serving to tear down the stigma. They state that “it’s vital that when people reach out about mental health that they are treated with dignity, respect and empathy”. The charity is in further conversations with ITV regarding this.
While many argue that he remains a big personality who has guaranteed increasing views for the past 6 years on the show, Piers Morgan is a man who has been confronted for being empirically racist and insensitive on numerous occasions. GMB has freely encouraged him to promote detrimental and consequential comments that have become more lucrative than ending the suffering of the people who are affected by it. And publicly casting doubt on Meghan’s personal struggles became the final provocation.
It’s important to remember one thing: When an individual states that they are struggling with mental health issues, or have ever contemplated suicide, you believe them. An individual’s mental health is not a matter that’s up for debate.