A Morning Show Cut an Inspiring Mental Health Segment – and People Aren't Happy
Last week, Ellie Wilkie shared a photo on Twitter celebrating her father, who survived a suicide attempt at the beginning of the year. Now, as the year comes to a close, he’s a recovery support worker, and her tweet sharing the news quickly went viral.
“Words can’t describe how proud we are,” she wrote. “It’s okay not to be okay.”
This year began with my dad mentally suffering depression and suicide attempt. Today he ends the year starting his new career in becoming a recovery support worker. Words can’t describe how proud we are #breakthestigma It’s okay not to be okay❤️ pic.twitter.com/HyUu3ZeO2S
— badiddy (@ellzthelephant) November 22, 2017
Wilkie told The Mighty she shared the post because she wanted to show it’s possible to support a parent struggling with depression. “I’ve stuck by Dad since the beginning along side my family,” she said. Her tweet also started conversations among other people whose parents were living with depression or had attempted suicide.
I’m currently going through the same with my mum if u ever need to talk I’m here x
— •Abi•????????❄️ (@Abzie2001) November 22, 2017
Her message got so much attention, Wilkie and her father, Brian Wilkie, were invited to appear on “This Morning,” a morning show in the United Kingdom. Wilkie and her father live in Edinburgh, Scotland, and had to travel to London for their appearance. But, on the day of their segment, which was supposed to air on Monday, Prince Harry and his then girlfriend Meghan Markle announced their engagement, and Wilkie’s segment was canceled to make room for the breaking news.
Wilkie told The Mighty she and her father were devastated. She wrote on Twitter, “Unfortunately today was not the day for our story to be heard. Due to breaking news our story was cut off live tv. The royal wedding will go ahead however mental health issues will always remain.”
Unfortunately today was not the day for our story to be heard. Due to breaking news our story was cut off live tv. The royal wedding will go ahead however mental health issues will always remain ❤️ until next time Dad. #breakthestigma pic.twitter.com/jbjcDeNvkl
— badiddy (@ellzthelephant) November 27, 2017
They were offered another day to appear on the show, but Wilkie told The Mighty they couldn’t make it due to prior commitments.
Although it’s not uncommon for news segments to get rescheduled when there’s breaking news, Wilkie’s followers were disappointed her father’s story wasn’t aired. If positive news stories about mental health were in the media on a regular basis, perhaps the cancelation wouldn’t seem like such a blow — but in a study done in the United States, it was found the most common topic (over 50 percent) connected to mental illness in the media is violence. Only 14 percent of news stories described successful treatment for or recovery from mental illness.
Twitter users expressed anger over the cancelation, explaining it made them feel like mental health wasn’t a priority.
Considering the work the 2 princes have done for mental health awareness I would like to think that they would have wanted the story told. @thismorning you got this wrong
— Michael Earles (@michaelearles1) November 27, 2017
Absolutely disgusting @thismorning get 2 people who cancelled 2 days plans to travel to London from Scotland as use wanted to hear there story. The whole show didn't need to be about the engagement surely mental health is more important #breakthestigma it's okay not be okay.
— Leanne Neil (@leanneneil2602) November 27, 2017
I’m so sorry you didn’t get to tell your story on @thismorning ???? it’s disgusting that they prioritised an engagement above your dad’s story which is SO much more important! Hope you and your Dad are doing okay ????
— Soph???? (@Sophie_1993_x) November 27, 2017
Terrible from @thismorning I'm sure even the Royals would have preferred your story to get the slot they also do so much work to raise awareness for mental health hope they sort it out but be proud regardless you and your family are amazing ❤️ #breakthestigma
— @EmmaMc (@81Mccabe) November 27, 2017
Welcome to the UK, where an engagement is more important than mental health. pic.twitter.com/wjF7TCXgz3
— Bhean (@_Bheanian_) November 27, 2017
While news stations have to cancel some segments to make room for others — social media does not. Wilkie’s dad encouraged people to keep sharing their story. He wrote in a tweet responding to the cancelation, “Help share our story for the people suffering in silence. I hope this gives you strength to reach out. Remember we are listening.”
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.