With the news this week of both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain each taking their own lives, I’ve tried to reflect on what to make of it. While I only know them from their public personas, their deaths are still hitting me in a very personal way. I know many are wondering why two people who seemingly “have it all” could reach a point of such hopelessness, but as you’ll read in all the reports, there is no single cause of suicide. We will never know what was in their minds in those final moments.
After a friend from college committed suicide, I kept asking myself if something different could have been done to prevent his death, but that question is also difficult to answer.
Instead, I try to look outward and ask, do I know anyone who might be struggling and what can I do to help? There are a wealth of resources online and below are a few including warning signs. I suspect most of us see those warning signs and think it’s just common sense. But are we really attuned to looking for those signs in ourselves or in the people around us?
As the saying goes, if you see something, say something. There is no harm in asking someone if they’re ok, or reaching out to let them know someone is there for them. Even if that outreach isn’t reciprocated, it is still worth the effort. If you’re really worried, send them the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number or a link to the live chat site--both available 24/7, free and completely confidential. No, you can’t force someone to use those resources but maybe just the reminder that they exist will lead someone to find the help they need.
If you’re struggling, know that there are people who care and can help. If you’re worried about someone else, let them know the same.
Not sure what to do? If you think someone might be considering suicide, go to www.BeThe1To.com to learn more about how you can help by taking these 5 steps:
- Keep Them Safe.
- Be There.
- Help Them Connect.
- Follow Up.
Warning Signs (https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/)
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255 (24/7, free and confidential);
- Live Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ (24/7, free and confidential)
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline;
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention;
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center;
- 10th leading cause of death in the US
- 47k Americans die by suicide each year, 130 suicides per day;
- For every 1 suicide, there are 25 attempts
- Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women;
- The rate of suicide is highest in middle age--particularly white men