This post was going to be about just Kate Spade, but sadly it is now going to be about Anthony Bourdain too. As you probably heard, we lost these two amazing humans this week. They both died from suicide. As we mourn their passings, we must also grapple with how they died. Just in 2016, the number of deaths by suicide in the United States was 44,965. We lost thousands and thousands of souls to the cruel monster that is depression and mental illness.
I don’t have all the solutions. No one does. But there is a few simple things we can do to help others struggling like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were:
1. Be kind. Know that everyone is fighting their own battles. Do not shame people for suffering from mental illness and do not judge those who lost their battles.
2. Work to end stigma. This keeps people from accessing help and leaves them suffering alone.
3. If you feel comfortable doing so, share your story. There is strength in numbers. So many of us are suffering. By sharing our battles, we can become stronger.
4. Do not use the term “committed suicide”. For a variety of reasons, the correct terminology is “death by suicide.” Language matters.
5. Do not assume that money fixes everything. The number of people saying that Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain should have been able to get help (because they were millionaires) is astounding. Treatment for mental health does not always work, just as chemotherapy does not always cure cancer.
6. Never say that someone who died by suicide was weak or shellfish. They died from a cruel and monstrous disease.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please know that you are loved and wanted. We need you here. Your brain is lying to you. You can do this! Know that I am here for you. Do not be afraid to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Rest in peace Kate Spade. Rest in peace Anthony Bourdain.