Sheffield presenter Dan Walker praised for mental health comments after Harry and Meghan interview

Sheffield presenter Dan Walker has been praised for speaking out about mental health in the wake of Harry and Meghan’s interview.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 11:31 am

Meghan Markle spoke candidly about her mental health struggles during the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired in the US before being broadcast on ITV on Monday.

She told the interviewer how she had experienced suicidal thoughts and had requested help and asked to go somewhere to get help but was told it would not look good by one of the most senior people in the institution.

Good Morning Britain Host Piers Morgan, who today stormed off the show after being challenged by his colleague, has questioned Harry and Meghan’s account of events, going so far as to dub Meghan ‘the Pinocchio Princess’.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Dan Walker (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) and Harry and Meghan (Photo by Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese via Getty Images)

But his ratings rival, BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker, says that whatever your views on the affair it is vital to take mental health seriously and ‘tread carefully’ as careless comments could prevent others from opening up about their struggles.

“Whatever you think of what they said, whether they should have said it and the huge ramifications... if someone says they have suicidal thoughts... you don’t say ‘prove it’,” he wrote in a tweet which has been liked more than 6,000 times.

He added: “I find it sad to see a family struggling to get on. I hope they can repair things and address the important issues raised. No one comes out of it well.

"I lost a good friend to suicide. I wish he’d talked about how he felt... maybe he’d still be here. Please tread carefully.”

For all the attention the royal interview is getting, many people are saying it is the less-feted chat between Mr Walker and mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin this morning which makes for more crucial viewing.

Mr Benjamin has been widely praised for his courage in speaking out, while the presenter won plaudits for his sensitive approach, especially the way he took the time to ask his interviewee how he was doing.

One viewer tweeted: “Yet again @mrdanwalker being a quality host on @BBCBreakfast with the way he started this segment on #MentalHealth after #MeghanMarkle bringing up her struggles with #SuicideIideation.

"Having been there myself, more than once, I know just how hard those times would have been.”

Jenny Ryan, from ITV’s The Chase, tweeted: “I was especially pleased to hear @mrdanwalker check in with Jonny and ask if he was okay. I hope everyone is mindful today that all the talk of that S-word is incredibly triggering to so many of us.

“Also worth bearing in mind that, if you tell a friend that you disbelieve a certain person's story of suicidal thoughts, you're also telling that friend not to come to you for help if/when they are feeling mentally fragile. It's hurtful.”

Mr Walker thanked Mr Benjamin, tweeting: “He spoke so powerfully about the courage it takes to say you're struggling and the danger of being told 'I don't believe you' or 'prove it'.”

He couldn’t resist a sly dig at Mr Morgan, tweeting a photo of himself and weather presenter Carol Kirkwood which in an apparent reference to his rival’s theatrics he said ‘was taken a few seconds before I stormed off set because Carol said it was going to be chilly this weekend’.

If you need to talk, you can call Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.