The recent rash of celebrity suicides – Kate Spade, Verne Troyer, and now Anthony Bourdain – holds a harsh reminder for us that depression has no ties to fame, fortune, or social status. While the spotlight is held on those few individuals who were well known throughout the world, the full ugly truth is that every single day an average of 123 of our fellow human beings commit suicide*, and most do not have the celebrity to also get the attention and memorial they deserve.
There is a well known and quite poignant quote of questionable attribution, “Everyone is fighting a hard battle that you know nothing about. So be kind. Always.” This is so true, and we should be mindful that the surface symptoms we see are rarely the full story lurking below the surface of anyone’s personal struggles, whether with depression or bipolar, anxiety or simply day to day life.
However, ‘being kind’ to those around us is not always enough and sometimes we need to further be the voice of encouragement for those around us to seek professional help with their struggles.
The stigma remains around mental illness, and as difficult as it is to confront, we must use tragic times like this to further the conversation around the epidemic facing our society. Without an open and trusting dialogue you may never know the ugly truth of what your loved ones are facing, or have the courage to seek the help that you yourself may need.
If you or someone you love has thoughts or urges of suicide, please know that you are needed, and there is help available. Call 1-800-273-Talk or visit Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For help and resources with depression, bipolar, or other mental health struggles check out Depression And Bipolar Support Alliance or visit Brewed Hope’s resource page for more connections.
*Statistics and more info can be found at American Foundation For Suicide Prevention.