Meghan sent private message to Naomi Osaka as tennis star battled mental illness

Meghan Markle sent tennis star Naomi Osaka a message of support after her decision to step down from the French Open.

In a personal essay written for Time Magazine, the 23-year-old explained her decision to take a break from the court to focus on her mental health and the support she received both from the general public and famous faces.

Public controversy arose after the tennis star decided to 'skip' the tournament's press briefings for mental health reasons.

Osaka expressed a desire to "thank everyone who supported me" in the wake of her decision, including family and friends.

"I also want to thank those in the public eye who have supported, encouraged and offered such kind words," she wrote.

"Michelle Obama, Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, Novak Djokovic, Meghan Markle, to name a few."

She did not disclose what the Duchess had said in her message, nor did she offer details on any of the other celebrities' support.

Meghan has faced mental health struggles of her own as was revealed in a shocking interview with Oprah back in March, revealing that during her time as a senior royal she "didn't want to be alive anymore."

In docuseries The Me You Can't See, Prince Harry said his wife didn't commit suicide because she didn't want him to lose another woman he loved following Princess Diana's death.

Harry said: "The thing that stopped her from seeing it through was how unfair it would be on me after everything that had happened to my mum."

The Duchess hoped that in telling the story of her battle with depression she could give others hope that "life is still worth living."

Osaka has been similarly open about her struggles with mental health, having tweeted after her exit from The French Open: "I am not a natural speaker and I get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world's media."

In her article with Time magazine she explained: “There can be moments for any of us where we are dealing with issues behind the scenes. Each of us as humans is going through something on some level.

“It has become apparent to me that literally everyone either suffers from issues related to their mental health or knows someone who does.

“I do hope that people can relate and understand it's OK to not be OK, and it's OK to talk about it.”

The star also decided to withdraw from Wimbledon that takes place this month and explained her desire to see more support extended to athletes in a similar position to her.

In her Time Magazine op-ed she wrote: "My No.1 suggestion would be to allow a small number of 'sick days' per year where you are excused from your press commitments without having to disclose your personal reasons.

"In any other line of work, you would be forgiven for taking a personal day here and there, so long as it's not habitual.

"You wouldn't have to divulge your most personal symptoms to your employer; there would likely be HR measures protecting at least some level of privacy."

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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