Suicide and Celebrities

National Suicide Month is September and 2018, in particular, has been an incredibly hard year for society across America with tens of thousand of lives lost due to suicide. Many of these individuals are sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers of loved ones and many of these individuals were struggling with a mental health disorder. For many, committing suicide is about ending the eternal pain and suffering brought on by an eating disorder, a mental health disorder or a substance abuse disorder. In 2018, two well-known celebrities who were role models for millions of people around the world lost their lives from suicide. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain who was most know for his hosted CNN’s “Parts Unknown” and his best-selling book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Bourdain not only traveled the world, tasting food but he truly connected with people from different cultures during his travels. He shared food, stories, laughs and sorrows with the rest of the world. Anthony Bourdain had a history with depression and heroin use however his sudden death shocked the world. Many individuals expressed how painful and shocking that someone could have the fame, wealth, respect, admiration, and opportunity that he did, and still not wish to live, however mental health, substance abuse and suicide affects all individuals, regardless of fame, money, age, or respect. Although Anthony Bourdain was a talented chef, a respect writer and a world traveler who loved different people and cultures; his internal pain was masked, which often happens with successful individuals who struggle with a mental illness or a substance abuse disorder.

Unlike physical illness, mental illnesses and suicidal thoughts cannot be seen. Many individuals will hide their thoughts and feelings out of fear of not being accepted by society or being judged harshly by their loved one. Kate Spade, a common household name who is best known for her fashion handbags, lost her life abruptly secondary to suicide. Kate Spade was found in her home in New York City after she hung herself just day before Anthony Bourdain ended his life. Kate Spade left behind her husband and young teenage daughter. Kate was known to have a mood disorder that co-occurred with an alcohol disorder. Although Kate was a successful businesswoman, fashion designer, mom and wife; she was still overcome by suicide regardless of her fame and worldwide respect by others.

The world responded with an outpouring of love and admiration for both of these celebrities after their deaths and many were shocked by how successful celebrities could take their own lives. Mental health and suicide slogans were trending on social media and suicide hotline numbers were being posted all over the media outlets. The stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide is lessening however it still remains not only in American society but in most countries around the world, especially second and third world countries where mental illness and suicide is not only shames but many people do not believe these disorders even exist.

Ending the stigma

In order for society to eliminate the stigma and be more open to seeking treatment and talking about suicide; the general public needs to be aware of how mental health disorders occur and which signs and symptoms to look out for. Mental health and substance disorders occur for a multitude of reasons; many of these disorders have a large genetic predisposition whereas many of these disorders are triggered by underlying events such as divorce, trauma, the loss of a job, bullying, or growing up in an unstable home or unstable relationship. Oftentimes, mental health disorders, substance abuse disorder and eating disorders are due to a combination of genetics and underlying triggers. Recognizing the triggers, learning about the signs and symptoms and addressing the illness is the proper manner can help save a life.

Relevant Articles:

Back to School Tips for Promoting Health in the Classroom
National Recovery Month: How to Be Successful in Recovery
National Suicide Prevention Week: September 9-15th 2018
National Suicide Prevention Day 2018: Mental Health First Aid
When Suicide Hotlines Are the Not Answer
The Difference Between Self-Harm and Attempted Suicide
In the News: America’s First Successful Face Transplant Gives New Hope to a Suicide Survivor