The recent suicide deaths of celebrities Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade have brought to the forefront a conversation about the difficult topic of suicide.
There is a mistaken belief that those with money and fame are immune from a downward spiral that can result in taking of one’s own life. If we can look below the shiny surface of what we think celebrities’ lives are like and let go of a belief that their financial resources and fame insulates them from the pain and struggles we all feel. In addition letting go of the idea that they are invulnerable and couldn’t possibly need help or have depression.
Kate Spade’s husband, Andy Spade, brother of comedian and actor David, revealed that she suffered from depression and anxiety for many years and was actively seeking help.
David Spade just made a $100,000.00 donation to the National Alliance on Mental Health in her memory. He is quoted as saying, “More people suffer from mental health than we may realize but no one should ever feel ashamed to reach out for support.”
He said further, “If you or anyone you know is in need of help or guidance please contact the national suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255 or go to nami.org to learn more and help those who may be in need.”
Anthony Bourdain’s death caught the restaurant and media off guard. He owned up to a difficult past in his life and said, “I was a heroin addict, for sure and a cocaine addict, for sure. I never stopped drinking, even after (stopping his use of drugs).”
People caught up in drug addiction and alcohol abuse can lose their connection to others and healthy relationships. They can also lack the awareness and clarity that they need help. For some it becomes the only way they feel “normal” is to drink or drug. Cut off from caring family or others they can begin to spiral down into hopelessness, helplessness and lose hope.
If these celebrity deaths can have a value it can be that it opens a dialogue between those that are suffering from mental health and/or addictions so that they seek the help they need to put their lives on a healthy path. It can also open the door for family members or friends to speak up to those they love that are struggling. It is an opportunity to tell them what they see and voice their concerns. When those conversations happen, it is important to have resources readily available.
Those resources are things like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which is: 1-800-273-8255. Also, locally, the King County Crisis Clinic, which is: 206-461-3222 or 866-4CRISIS (427-4747).
If someone is attempted to harm themselves, they can be get help by taking them to any emergency room or by calling 911.
If someone you know is struggling with depression, addiction or anxiety then help them find help. Begin by telling them that they matter to you and you are concerned for their welfare. If you are seeing a mental health professional or seen one in the past be in touch with them to get a advise on how to respond and possibly get a referral for your friend or family member.
With this heartbreaking development it brings an opportunity to speak up when we ourselves or someone else is struggling and not allow your concern to be unspoken because it might be embarrassing or awkward to say. By speaking up we are taking the threat of suicide out into the light where it can lose the shame or stigma that has keep it from being addressed.