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By Madeleine Dopico
Just days after Kate Spade tragically took her own life in her Park Avenue apartment, celebrity chef, TV personality, and acclaimed author, Anthony Bourdain- was found dead in his hotel room.
It was confirmed this morning that Bourdain committed suicide, sending yet another wave of sadness and shock through masses that worshiped these iconic figures.
To the public eye, Spade and Bourdain had the lives that so many of us fantasize of forever: fame, wealth, awards- all for delicious food and beautiful fashion? They had it all.
But in the span of one week, we’ve woken up to news of these glamorous leaders taking their own lives. As we grieve, we must open our eyes.
Suicide rates have increased by 25% over the last two decades, according to the CDC. Every year, 1 million adults report making an attempt on their own life, and yet only 41% of adults with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year.
Despite informational campaigns spending tens of millions of dollars trying to tackle the issue, studies show that Americans may be as suspicious of people with mental illness as ever. An article by the APA calling stigma “alive and well”, cited that 68% of Americans “do not want someone with a mental illness marrying into their family”, and 58% “do not want people with mental illness in their workplaces.”
Hopefully this gives us pause. Before news of their suicides, imagine saying you do not want Anthony Bourdain in your kitchen, or Kate Spade creating your handbag.
People with mental illness are not an alien, lesser version of us. Often they are our idols, our family members, our coworkers, or they are us.
How do we destigmatize depression, anxiety, and all mental illness, as well as prevent the suicide rate from climbing further?