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Bourdain and Spade suicides siren importance of seeking help

Anthony Bourdain, the gifted chef, storyteller, and writer who took TV viewers around the world to explore culture, cuisine, and the human condition for nearly two decades, has died – the cause of death was suicide.

Bourdain’s death came days after fashion designer Kate Spade hanged herself Tuesday at her Manhattan apartment. Social media is alight with condolences, sympathy, and questions over their deaths.

These recent suicides have reverberated through the American entertainment landscape with a shattering reminder that suicide is a serious public health problem that causes immeasurable pain, suffering, and loss to individuals, families, and communities nationwide.

The causes of suicide are complex and determined by multiple combinations of factors, such as mental illness, substance abuse, painful losses, exposure to violence, and social isolation.

A recent CNN release shared how Bourdain approached his work, “We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy?” His curious manner in how he approached work is a timely reminder for us to be resolute in our collective curiosity and care for one another.

Suicide is a growing problem in the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a survey Thursday showing suicide rates increased by 25-percent across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016.

Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30-percent, the government report finds.

The suicide rate in the United States has seen sharp increases in recent years. Studies have shown that the risk of suicide declines sharply when people call the national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK.

Brian Buuck, CEO of Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services, urges, “If you or someone you know and love is at a breaking point, especially one so low they speak of wanting to end their life, take immediate action to get them help.” Here in the Anderson, Scott, Morgan, Campbell, and Roane County areas, immediate help comes from Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services who have caring professionals available to help at 865-482-1076, or through the Mobile Crisis Team, who is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-870-5481.

Michael Yates is Director of Development for Ridgeview. Ridgeview is a private, not for profit community mental health center with locations in Anderson, Campbell, Morgan, Roane, and Scott counties.