Experts weigh in on suicide prevention after death of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain

(WMAR) - Suicide has drawn much attention as a mental health crisis, especially after the sudden deaths of two high-profile celebrities in the United States.

Its recent victims, famed fashion designer Kate Spade and TV personality Anthony Bourdain, both dead just a few days apart.

"It's really sad, and it shines a light on the growing problem. In fact, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that suicide rates have increased 25-percent in the last two decades and suicide is now among the top ten causes of death in the United States," said Jackie Ashkin, LCSW-C Clinician for Jewish Community Services.

Experts have clarified that the recent deaths of Spade and Bourdain may not have much effect on suicide rates in general, but will draw more attention to its seriousness. 

"Public figures taking their life by suicide won't necessarily put the idea in their mind, but it could make it worse for them, and we do know that when there's a public figure who dies by suicide we tend to see increases in rates", said Dr. Andrea Gottlieb, Psychologist at Sheppard Pratt Health System.

Even though Maryland reportedly has one of the lowest suicide rates in the country, it doesn't mean the need for prevention is any less.

Risk factors may include traumatic events, the loss of a job, end of a relationship, a serious physical illness, and etc.

"If you notice that someone is just down, not themselves, or seems agitated, if they are talking about life not being worth living, or feeling hopeless, those are really signs," said Ashkin.

Suicide is not the most popular conversation, but the two public figure deaths have people talking.

"Talking about this as a society is something that we can do to designative mental health, often its all too common that people who need help are scared to get the help because they're not comfortable telling others what they're experiencing," said Gottlieb.

You can seek support through places like Sheppard Pratt Health System, which specializes in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. Click here for more information.     
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