Posts Tagged With: suicide
Yesterday, the tragic news broke that iconic fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her home of a reported suicide. She was 55-years-old.
All across social media, fashion lovers and other celebrity icons mourned the death of a beloved friend, designer, and influencer. Many women also mourned the death of someone they feel “understood” them through clothing and accessories. While Twitter and Facebook were filled with kind words and sentiments for Kate Spade and her family, one Facebook post stood out amongst the others for its powerful message.
Facebook user Claudia Herrera posted a photo of her Kate Spade bags, along with a sentimental and important message about mental health disorders that everyone should see and read.
My laptop bag is Kate Spade. My wallet is Kate Spade. The adorable cactus charm is Kate Spade. The purse my daughter carries is Kate Spade; I just got her a new one a couple of weeks ago, in fact. The phone I’m holding in my hand as I type this has a Kate Spade case.
Yet I had no idea this amazingly talented and creative woman suffered from depression. I know she went to ASU, which we just toured last week. I know that’s where she met her husband, who she left behind today along with her daughter. I know her brand story. Yet I didn’t know she suffered from depression.
Why is it any of my business or yours to know? It doesn’t have to be, of course.
But I knew when Patrick Swayze was battling pancreatic cancer. I know that Cynthia Nixon is a breast cancer survivor. I know that Selena Gomez has lupus and recently had a kidney transplant. I know that Dave Letterman suffers from heart disease. I know that Lance Armstrong is a testicular cancer survivor.
But I didn’t know that Kate Spade suffered from depression.
Or that Robin Williams did.
Because somehow society has made it more acceptable to talk about breasts and testicles than about the mind and the chemicals and hormones it releases and controls and the messages it relays.
Until depression is seen as an ILLNESS and not a condition that can be “cured” by being brushed off with a “try to be happy” or “just look at the bright side of life; you have so much to be happy about.”
Until anxiety is seen as an ILLNESS and not a condition that can be “cured” by being brushed off with a “just don’t be afraid of ____” or “get over it, freak.”
Depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, etc. feed your mind the wrong messages. They tell you to be afraid of things you know you shouldn’t be afraid of. They tell you that you aren’t good enough and don’t deserve to be alive and that things won’t get better. They tell you that everyone is out to get you, that everyone is looking at you, that everyone is judging you.
And sadly, the last sentence comes with truth. People do judge those with mental illness. Yet would you judge someone with cancer? Heart disease? Immune disorders? A tumor?
Would you tell them to just “get over it?” As though people suffering from mental ILLNESS could somehow just wish it away? Don’t you think they would if they could?!
Until the stigma is removed from mental illness … until society truly, authentically accepts it as an illness … those suffering from these illnesses will continue to hide their condition.
In some cases they will self medicate with drugs and alcohol.
In some cases, like an old friend when we were in our early 20s, they’ll jump off a cliff in LA.
In some cases, they’ll hang themselves from a red scarf from their bedroom door in their gorgeous New York City apartment.
Depression is a monster. And if you don’t start realizing that mental illness is an illness and not joke fodder … if you don’t respond with love and compassion when someone does open up to you about it … if you know someone with these illnesses and make them feel they are weak because of them … you might want to ask yourself if maybe you are too.
Rest easy, Kate Spade.
This is Deborah Greene with her father.
10 months ago he committed suicide.
She learned about his death in the middle of a Whole Foods store.
She says she will never forget how the people in the store helped her that day.
And she just wrote an open letter to them that was printed in themighty.com
I remember you.
10 months ago my cell phone rang with news of my father’s suicide.
My brother was telling me my father was dead, that he had taken his own life early that morning and through his own sobs, I remember my brother kept saying, “I’m sorry Deborah, I’m so sorry.”
And as we hung up the phone, I started to cry and scream as my whole body trembled.
Overwhelmed with emotions, I fell to the floor, my knees buckling under the weight of what I had just learned.
And you kind strangers, you were there.
You could have kept on walking, ignoring my cries, but you didn’t.
No, instead you surrounded me as I yelled through my sobs, “My father killed himself. He killed himself. He’s dead.”
I remember in that haze of emotions, one of you asked for my phone and asked who you should call.
What was my password?
You needed my husband’s name as you searched through my contacts.
I remember I could hear your words as you tried to reach my husband for me, leaving an urgent message for him to call me.
I recall hearing you discuss among yourselves who would drive me home in my car and who would follow that person to bring them back to the store.
You didn’t even know one another, but it didn’t seem to matter. You encountered me, a stranger, in the worst moment of my life and you coalesced around me with common purpose — to help.
In my fog, I told you that I had a friend, Pam, who worked at Whole Foods and one of you went in search of her.
Thankfully, she was there that morning and you brought her to me.
She took me to the back, comforting and caring for me until my husband could get to me.
And I even recall as I sat with her, one of you sent back a gift card to Whole Foods; though you didn’t know me, you wanted to offer a little something to let me know that you would be thinking of me and holding me and my family in your thoughts and prayers.
That gift card helped to feed my family, when the idea of cooking was so far beyond my emotional reach.
I never saw you after that.
But I know this to be true: If it were not for all of you, I might have simply gotten in the car and tried to drive myself home.
I wasn’t thinking straight, if I was thinking at all.
If it were not for you, I don’t know what I would’ve done in those first raw moments of overwhelming shock, anguish and grief.
But I thank God every day I didn’t have to find out.
Your kindness, your compassion, your willingness to help a stranger in need have stayed with me until this day.
And no matter how many times my mind takes me back to that horrible life altering moment, it is not all darkness.
Because you reached out to help, you offered a ray of light in the bleakest moment I’ve ever endured.
You may not remember it.
You may not remember me.
But I will never, ever forget you.
And though you may never know it, I give thanks for your presence and humanity each and every day.
As sad as this story is, it’s also so refreshing to me how everyone jumped in to help.
I’ve always believed that down inside people are good.
And I’ve always found that when things are at their worst, it tends to bring out the best in people.
Just ask Deborah Greene
Hero of the day: Jamie Harrington!
Jamie is a teenager from Ballymun, Ireland, and he saved a man’s life with 3 words: “Are you okay?”
Here’s Jamie’s story in his own words:
“I was just on my way to the shop when I saw this guy in his 30s sitting on the ledge of the bridge. I just thought, “wow…” I stopped and asked him if he was okay, but I knew from the look in his eyes he wasn’t, and he didn’t say anything either, but I saw tears coming from his eyes.
I pleaded with him for a while to come down and eventually he did. We sat on the sidewalk and talked for about 45 minutes, about what was happening to him, why was he feeling that way…
I couldn’t leave him there alone, but I had to go, so I called an ambulance. I told him I wouldn’t sleep knowing he was just walking around alone. So I rang it, and he was taken to St. James Hospital.
I got his number so I would know what was going on with him for a good while…
And about three months ago, he texted me that his wife is pregnant, they’re having a boy, and they’re naming him after me. Can you believe that? They’re going to name their child after me… He said in that moment that I approached him, he was just about to jump, and those few words saved his life. That they’re still ringing in his head every day. “Are you okay?” I can’t really understand how these few words could save his life, but he told me, “Imagine if nobody ever asked you those words…” “
Rest in peace.
Terrence J, Rocsi, and VH1′s Black Ink star Dutchess are mourning the loss of their good friend and HamptonUniversity grad Yusuf Neville. The Durham, North Carolina native committed suicide on Wednesday by jumping from a hotel parking deck in Greensboro, while leaving family and friends asking, “What could we have done?”
Rocsi Diaz, an acquaintance of Yusuf, posted:
Tell all your loved ones you love them … Bury any feuds between old friends… Life is to short… To my #weallwegot family stay strong tonight… We have an angel watching over us now… RIP Yusuf
And VH1′s Black Ink Crew’s Dutchess:
U never know what the next person is going through. A friend of mine committed suicide and I’m honestly in complete shock because he was always so positive and encouraging. Please pray for his family and fiancée in this difficult time of loss.
She also took Yusuf’s death as an opportunity to shine light on something rarely talked about in the Black community: suicide.
Please have more compassion for people. Please understand I’ve made mistakes and I’ve learned from them and I continue to learn everyday. God knows but if u come across someone troubled or going through a storm they may cry or be mean or simply smile as nothing’s wrong just have more compassion u never know the storms in our lives or how anyone chooses to deal with them. #ripyusuf
Terrence J of E! News also added:
Rest in peace Yusuf. My heart is so heavy. You mean so much to all of us. I can’t even articulate right now. #weallwegot
From the outside looking in, Yusuf appeared to have it all together. He had found the love of his life Jennifer and was set to marry her later this year. On their wedding website, she describes him as the “sweetest, most caring person” she knows, even sharing anecdotes about how he would give her flowers every Monday, even when he was out of town. He was a HamptonUniversity graduate, a service manager at a Fortune 500 company, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi frat and an avid runner with plans of running a marathon on every continent. He had already completed a marathon in Paris, France and another at the Great Wall of China in Beijing. He was an amazing man who left fond memories with all who knew him.
To his acquaintances, he seemed fine. But his last message on Instagram painted a different picture. Just before he jumped, he posted this photo of his view of the snow-covered city with the note:
In December, Yusuf posted this tweet on how he wanted to be remembered after he was gone.
Our condolences go out to Yusuf’s friends, family and fiancée. May you find strength during this time.
Today, remember to call a friend or family member. Let them know that they are loved. Hold your loved ones close. You never know who is smiling through the pain, what they may be going through or how much they may value a listening ear.
Give them roses while they can still smell them.
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SUICIDOLOGY
Facts about Depression and Suicide
What is Depression?
Depression is the most prevalent mental health disorder. The lifetime risk for depression is 6 to 25%. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 9.5% or 20.9 million American adults suffer from a depressive illness in any given year.
There are two types of depression. In major depression, the symptoms listed below interfere with one’s ability to function in all areas of life (work, family, sleep, etc.). In dysthymia, the symptoms are not as severe but still impeded one’s ability to function at normal levels.
Common symptoms of depression, reoccurring almost every day:
- Depressed mood (e.g. feeling sad or empty)
- Lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Significant weight loss or gain, or decrease or increase in appetite
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Agitation, restlessness, irritability
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt
- Inability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation, suicide attempt or plan for
- completing suicide
A family history of depression (i.e., a parent) increases the chances (by 11 times) than a child will also have depression.
The treatment of depression is effective 60-80% of the time. However, according to the World
Health Organization, less than 25% of individuals with depression receive adequate treatment.
If left untreated, depression can lead to co-morbid (occurring at the same time) mental disorders
such as alcohol and substance abuse, higher rates of recurrent episodes and higher rates of
Facts about Suicide
In 2010, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., claiming 38,357 lives. Suicide
rates among youth (ages 15-24) have increase more than 200% in the last fifty years. The
suicide rate is also very high for the elderly (age 85+).
Four times more men than women kill themselves; but three times more women than men
Suicide occurs across ethnic, economic, social and age boundaries.
Suicide is preventable. Most suicidal people desperately want to live; they are just unable to see
alternatives to their problems. Most suicidal people give definite warning signals of their
suicidal intentions, but other are often unaware of the significance of these warning or unsure
what to do about them.
Talking about suicide does not cause someone to become suicidal.
Surviving family members not only suffer the loss of a loved one to suicide, but are also
themselves at higher risk of suicide and emotional problems.
The Links between Depression and Suicide
Major depression is the psychiatric diagnosis most commonly associated with suicide. Lifetime
risk of suicide among patients with untreated depressive disorder is nearly 20% (Gotlib &
Hammen, 2002). The suicide risk among treated patients is 141 per 100,000 (Isacsson et al.,
About 2/3 of people who complete suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths.
About 7 out of every hundred men and 1 out of every hundred women who have been diagnosed
with depression in their lifetime will go on to complete suicide.
The risk of suicide in people with major depression is about 20 times that of the general
Individuals who have had multiple episodes of depression are at greater risk for suicide than
those who have had one episode.
People who have a dependence on alcohol or drugs in addition to being depressed are at greater
risk for suicide.
Individuals who are depressed and exhibit the following symptoms are at particular risk for
- Extreme hopelessness
- Facts about Suicide and Depression Based on 2010 Data 3
- A lack of interest in activities that were previously pleasurable
- Heightened Anxiety and/or panic attacks
- Talk about suicide or have a prior history of attempts
- Irritability and agitation
There is no evidence to date that the prescription of antidepressants for the treatment of
depression increases the risk of dying by suicide in children, adolescents or adults. The FDA has
issued a Black Box warning regarding antidepressants in youth and young adults in response to
evidence of twice the risk (4% versus 2%) of suicide ideation and attempts by those being treated
Be Aware of the Warning Signs
A suicidal person may:
- Talk about suicide, death and/or no reason to live.
- Be preoccupied with death and dying.
- Withdraw from friends and/or social activities.
- Have a recent sever loss (esp. relationship) or threat of a significant loss.
- Experience drastic changes in behavior.
- Lose interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
- Prepare for death by making out a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements.
- Give away prized possessions.
- Have attempted suicide before.
- Take unnecessary risks; be reckless, and/or impulsive.
- Lose interest in their personal appearance.
- Increase their use of alcohol or drugs.
- Express a sense of hopelessness.
- Be faced with a situation of humiliation or failure.
- Have a history of violence or hostility.
- Have been unwilling to “connect” with potential helpers.
Be Aware of Feelings, Thoughts, and Behaviors
Nearly everyone at some time in his or her life thinks about suicide. Most everyone decides to
live because they come to realize that the crisis is temporary, but death in not. On the other
hand, people in the midst of a crisis often perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter
loss of control.
- Can’t stop the pain
- Can’t think clearly
- Can’t make decisions
- Can’t see any way out
- Can’t sleep, eat, or work
- Can’t get out of the depression
- Can’t make the sadness go away
- Can’t see the possibility of change
- Can’t see themselves as worthwhile
- Can’t get someone’s attention
- Can’t seem to get control
If you experience any of these feelings, get help!
If you know someone who exhibits these feelings, offer help!
Talk to Someone – You are not Alone. Contact:
- A community mental health agency
- A school counselor or psychologist
- A suicide prevention/crisis intervention center
- A private therapist
- A family physician
- A religious/spiritual leader