Wales' health minister: Piers Morgan comments about Meghan Markle 'wholly unacceptable and damaging'

  • Watch the health minister's full response here

Wales' health minister has criticised presenter Piers Morgan's comments about Meghan Markle and her mental health, calling them "wholly unacceptable" and "damaging".

After the Duchess of Sussex spoke out about her suicidal thoughts during her interview with Oprah Winfrey, Morgan hit out at the former royal and said he did not believe a word she said.

He was widely denounced for his comments, with more than 41,000 complaints made to regulator Ofcom and a formal complaint to ITV by the Duchess herself.

On Tuesday it emerged that Morgan would be leaving his presenting role on Good Morning Britain.

Today, Vaughan Gething said Morgan's comments would have set back those struggling with their mental health, but wished him well in future.

Mr Gething also highlighted the Time to Change Wales programme, which aims to end mental health stigma and discrimination across the country.

He said: "I thought Piers Morgan's comments about not believing what Meghan Markle had to say about her mental health was wholly unacceptable, incredibly unkind and exactly where we should not be in public debate and discourse.

"We've won lots of ground by talking and being more open about mental health challenges, not just in Wales but across the UK.

"The comments and the tone of them I think would have set a number of people back, and that highly judgemental approach is really unhealthy and unhelpful.

"There are people who have had real challenges with their mental health - some people for the first time, for others exacerbations and reoccurrence of mental health challenges during lockdown.

"And for him to deny, without any knowledge or understanding really of what was happening in that family relationship, and to say that he didn't believe her - in particular about the suicidal thoughts she said she'd had - I thought that was damaging and unacceptable.

"You saw that [mental health charity] Mind and a range of other people called him out too. But I'm pleased that ITV reiterated that the campaign they've been running, about getting Britain talking, is something they are committed to.

"I obviously wish Piers Morgan well in the rest of his life, wherever it takes him. I hope that we can all learn something from this about how we behave and use the platforms of influence and power that we each have in our varying forms."

Piers Morgan has stood by his comments and on Wednesday tweeted: "Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on".

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