Ben Shephard has stressed that Good Morning Britain takes mental health ‘very seriously’ following Piers Morgan’s departure from the show, after Piers questioned Meghan Markle’s revelation that she considered suicide.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Piers, 55, had quit GMB after more than 41,000 people complained to Ofcom about his remarks on the Duchess of Sussex.
He had been reacting to an interview Meghan recently conducted alongside Prince Harry with Oprah Winfrey, in which the duchess said that she had been left feeling suicidal while struggling with the pressure of being in the royal family.
Despite mental health charity Mind hitting out at Piers – with the organisation stating: ‘We were disappointed and concerned to see Piers Morgan’s comments on not believing Meghan’s experiences about suicidal thoughts today’ – the broadcaster later doubled down on his view when the news of his exit from GMB emerged.
On today’s GMB, Ben, 46, emphasised that the ITV morning talk show takes mental health ‘very seriously’.
‘It’s crucial that we all appreciate and understand that right now, particularly in the middle of a pandemic and what we’ve seen our frontline nurses and doctors going through, and the concern about the mental health impact of that and what that’s going to do,’ he said.
‘Dr Hilary’s with us as well, and I’m sure you’ve got anecdotal evidence of people on the frontline experiencing PTSD, talking about how difficult it’s been to cope in those sorts of environments, that the debate about mental health and the concern for people’s mental health is something we take very seriously and is hugely important to all of us.’
Before Ben spoke, his co-presenter Kate Garraway, 53, promised that her friendship with Piers would ‘go on’.
Defending her longtime friend, Kate said: ‘That’s the thing about Piers, he is very passionate and does fly kites and always comes from a place of authenticity, he always believes in what he says and he’s left.
‘He’s decided to quit and, as he says, fall on the sword of free speech, but as you rightly say I’ve known him a long time before he started working on this show and our friendship will go on, our personal friendship.
‘He’s been very supportive of me personally. It’s a different show but the show goes on.’
According to the Guardian and the Telegraph, Piers’ departure from GMB came after a formal complaint was lodged with ITV on behalf of Meghan after the broadcast.
The Telegraph said that a spokesperson for ITV ‘refused to deny’ the reports. Metro.co.uk has contacted ITV for further comment.
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Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.
Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview: Key moments
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have spoken to Oprah Winfrey in a bombshell interview about their decision to step back as senior working members of the Royal Family.
Here are the key points from the interview, which UK viewers can watch at 9pm on ITV on Monday, March 8.
- Meghan says it was Kate who made her cry over flower girls, not other way round
- Meghan says Harry was told there were ‘concerns how dark’ Archie would be
- Harry and Meghan reveal the gender of their baby due in summer
- Meghan sobs as she says pressures of royal life drove her to the verge of suicide
- Prince Charles stopped taking Harry’s calls after he quit Royal Family
- Harry says Meghan saved him from being ‘trapped’ like Prince Charles and Prince William are
- Princess Diana would be ‘sad and angry about how this has panned out’
- Meghan and Harry share adorable new video of son Archie at the beach
- Harry confirms terrible rift with William and says their relationship is now just ‘space’
- Queen ‘ghosted Harry during Megxit talks and got aide to say she was too busy’