What Recent Celebrity Suicides Say About Mental Illness
Within the past week, the suicides of designer and businesswoman Kate Spade and chef, author, and television personality Anthony Bourdain have rocked the world and caused millions to voice their condolences. However, one of the most popular reactions among social media users is the distribution of the Suicide Prevention Hotline number. Although this is a great service, knowing this number is not the key to ending suicide and treating mental illness. The Suicide Prevention Hotline creates a dynamic in which a stranger is talking another stranger out of deathly reacting to something the former stranger has no insight about. Although this is a way for people suffering from mental illness to interact with others and escape isolation, the people that those suffering are talking to are anonymous and will most likely never be spoken to again. One of the most important things about seeking help for battling mental illness is also receiving support and guidance beyond the epiphany and confession. Therefore, we must actively promote showing love and helpfulness to those suffering. In general, we should be showing love and helpfulness to all to further prevent mental illness even to those who have not verbalized their condition. Additionally, we must remove the stigma that seeing a psychiatrist and being prescribed medication is for crazy people. It's important for mental health patients to see specialists and experts who can provide the proper tips and tools to guide those suffering back to their original state. Another stigma that plagues mental illness is that one cannot develop it until there is a tangible sign of distress to justify their depression. Therefore, if there is no sign then they must not have it. This is the main reason many self harm. However, mental illness shows no discrimination. Anyone can develop it: rich, poor, physically healthy, physically unhealthy, short, tall, black, white. We must always remember this as to not minimize the feelings of those who develop it while in ideal living situations. Overall, I would say to spread love always, and encourage those suffering to seek recovery. Moreover, many may not be ready to share their condition. Therefore, it is equally important to support those who you may sense are or are at risk of suffering from depression. In regards to the Suicide Prevention Hotline, encourage those suffering to call it as a last resort. If there is no one available or it's really late at night, call the hotline to receive immediate human interaction and some kind and caring words. I truly believe that we can be the generation to fight mental illness by removing the stigmas, raising awareness, and being supportive; but it all starts with the changes we decide to make to our life that can positively affect others.