San Antonio mental health advocate praises Meghan Markle for admitting her suicidal thoughts

Pleas for help already on the rise during pandemic

SAN ANTONIO – By describing how she was largely unable to leave her royal surroundings in her time of crisis, a local mental health advocate said Meghan Markle described what many others are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hope is out there, but it also has to come from a place of understanding,” said Talli Dolge, chief executive officer of Jewish Family Service. “We are all human and we are all going through a period of time that we are not equipped to deal with.”

Dolge said pleas for help have been on the rise given the increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression many are feeling.

Yet many are still unable or unwilling to talk about their personal crises, she said.

But hearing Markle speak openly about her own struggles could be beneficial to others, Dolge said.

“Wow, she was brave enough. She was smart enough and she did not stop working to get the help that she needed,” Dolge said.

Dolge said in her interview, Markle said, “I’m not a hero. I’m not the worst person in the world. I’m not a villain, but I’m human.”

“Those words are exactly what people really need to understand,” Dolge said.

She said Markle’s painful admission to the world will normalize the conversation about suicide.

“There was no shame involved. There’s so much shame when people feel alone in their own mental illness,” Dolge said.

Dolge urges if someone is having suicidal thoughts, there is a 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255, and a long list of resources in Bexar County.

The South Texas chapter of the National Foundation for Suicide Prevention that is deeply involved in the studying the issue, also increase awareness about suicide and its warning signs.

“Suicide is the leading cause of death in the U.S. It’s the second leading cause of death among for those aged 10 to 34 years old,” said Cammy Hazim, its area director. “This is more common than you think.”

Suicide warning signs (KSAT)

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.