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Reminders from a celebrity suicide

Reminders from a celebrity suicide

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She seemed like she had it all

Kate Brosnahan, known professionally as Kate Spade, was an American fashion designer and businesswoman.  She built an empire for her Kate Spade New York line of handbags that was launched in 1993.  It is hard to believe that a woman who built such an iconic brand felt that suicide was her only option.  On June 5, 2018 she decided to end her life.  I remember lusting after this clean, polished and feminine handbag as a teenager.  On my first trip to New York City at 13 years old, I purchased a knock off and wore it around the city like I owned that Big Apple.  I received my first real Kate Spade handbag as a gift from my Master’s program and I cherish that bag.

Andy Spade, Kate Spade’s husband, reported his wife began suffering from serious depression six years ago.  He stated, “Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.  She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives…there was no indication and no warning that she would do this.  It was a complete shock.  And it clearly wasn’t her.  There were personal demons she was battling.”

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What do I do to help someone I love?

That is terrifying for anyone who is struggling or has a friend or family member dealing with mental health issues.  It is normal to ask oneself after a suicide completion, “what were the signs?” or “could I have done something to stop it?”  Suicide is hard to comprehend for someone not in the depths of mental health difficulties.  Many times when someone is thinking about suicide they think it is their only option to release the pain they are in.  I often hear people express feeling like that are a burden on their loved ones or don’t see any other solution.

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If you or someone you know is having thoughts about suicide, reach out.  Talk to them.  Better yet, listen without judgement.  Sometimes just asking the person if they are having thoughts of hurting or killing themselves, can provide the space for that person to open up and share.  Then, get that person to a professional who can evaluate that person and provide treatment.  Please do not try to evaluate that person on your own, but do act swiftly.

Resources to help

Individual counseling can help.  If that person is not yet ready for individual counseling or unwilling, the number for the national suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255.  In New Hanover county, mobile crisis teams are also available to come to meet you in the community to provide an evaluation, 1-844-709-4097.  If you would like more, check out the segment I did with WECT on suicide awareness.