Celebrity suicides shine light on mental illness
Familiarize yourself with 5 signs of suicide risk and local resources before you need them.
Katie Mcpherson and Amanda Williamson Published: 6/8/2018
When a celebrity dies by suicide, experts see a rise in copycat deaths. Within four months of Robin Williams’ passing in 2014, there was a 10 percent increase in recorded deaths by suicide — almost 2,000 lives.
This phenomenon is known as the “celebrity-suicide effect.”
Following the deaths of prominent designer Kate Spade and well-known chef and travel host Anthony Bourdain, it is more important than ever to be aware of the signs and symptoms of suicidal behavior, and familiarize yourself with local suicide prevention resources.
“It is important that you know the mental health resources, tools and professional support that are available in our community because these resources can be lifesaving when someone you know may be suffering from depression or having suicidal thoughts,” said R. John Repique, DNP, RN, system director for Inpatient Behavioral Health at Baptist Health.
5 Risk Factors
Suicidal behavior is complex and there is no single cause, but many people experiencing suicidal thoughts share certain risk factors, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. They include:
- Depression, other mental disorders, or a substance abuse disorder
- Chronic pain
- A prior suicide attempt
- Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
- Having guns or other firearms in the home
5 Signs and Symptoms
Suicidal thoughts or behaviors are a sign of extreme distress and should never be ignored. Family and friends are often the first people to recognize the warning signs of suicide, and being knowledgeable about these behaviors is the first step toward helping a loved one. Common signs include:
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
- Talking about feeling empty, hopeless or having no reason to live
- Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills or buying a gun
- Using alcohol or drugs more often
- Withdrawing from family and friends or saying goodbye to them, and giving away cherished possessions
If you or someone you love is in crisis, call the Baptist Behavioral Health 24-hour crisis line at 904.202.7900, or call 911 for immediate assistance.
“Anyone in the community can call when they are in crisis or need immediate behavioral health support, especially in the wake of Kate Spade’s and Anthony Bourdain's deaths by suicide,” said psychologist Terrie Andrews, PhD, system administrator for Baptist Behavioral Health.
If you or a loved one is interested in more training, please check out Baptist Health's upcoming free Mental Health First Aid courses at Baptist Medical Center Beaches on June 15, the Riverside Baptist Y Healthy Living Center on June 29, and the PLAYERS Center on July 18. Additional dates can be found at the Jacksonville Non-Profit Hospital Partnership website for Mental Health First Aid training.
National Institute of Mental Health: nimh.nih.gov