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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line Text HOME to 741741 in the US

After the news that Kate Spade took her own life on Tuesday, the CDC reported that suicide rates in the United States are up. Then this morning, we woke up to the news that chef and world traveler Anthony Bourdain committed suicide while filming his show in Paris. In the last year, several celebrities have taken their own lives, including Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell.

Some people will say “they had all the money in the world, and the ability to get the best help there is. Why did they still commit suicide?” I don’t have a definitive answer to that, but I know that mental illness is real, and some people struggle every single day with the decision to take their own life. Even people who we think “have it all” still can’t win the battle against mental illness.

It’s easy for people who don’t know the pain associated with mental illness to dismiss it, or say it’s not real. It’s easy to say “suck it up,” “move on,” or “get over it.” But that’s part of the problem. You can’t just “get over it” even if you want to.

I have anxiety, and I deal with it. I have learned ways to function every day and not let it define my life. I have also dealt with depression in my life. After my best friend Heidi died, I was inconsolable for a while. I slipped into a depression that not even I could see for some time. The day after I found out, my oldest son asked my friend if I was going to kill myself. I never once considered it, but my pain and grief was so bad that my child worried about my safety. It was never an option, because I still had hope for a day when I wouldn’t feel so out of control, lonely, sad, and in pain. But unfortunately, some people struggle with it for so long, they lose hope. I have been in the hole. It’s a dark, scary place to be. I was able to get myself out, but I know some people never can. My heart hurts for them.

I know people who deal with different types of mental illness, and to them I say: Hold on. Fight. Stay here because I love you. The world will miss you.

Make sure the people in your life know how you feel about them. If you see someone struggling, help them. This is becoming all too common. And know that you are not alone. Someone will be there to help you.

Here are some rick factors of mental illness and suicidal tendencies:

  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders
  • Hopelessness
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Major physical illnesses
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • Family history of suicide
  • Job or financial loss
  • Loss of relationship(s)
  • Easy access to lethal means
  • Local clusters of suicide
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation
  • Stigma associated with asking for help
  • Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)

Warning signs:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

 

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