In the past week, several tragic events have brought suicide into the public eye. Celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain died by suicide this week, while the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)—the American governmental agency responsible for tracking and improving public health—reported that U.S. suicide rates have increased dramatically over the past two decades.

Kate Spade, 55, was an award-winning fashion designer and the eponymous founder of Kate Spade New York—a prominent clothing and handbag store.

Anthony Bourdain, 61, was a well-known chef and television journalist with shows on CNN, the Food Network, and the Travel Channel.

Part of a Larger Trend

These two deaths also draw attention to the relative prominence of suicide in America, with suicide rates increasing by more than 25% nationally since 1999.

Media coverage often highlights mental health as a primary cause of suicides. Yet this depiction is not borne out by research.

In fact, according to the recently released CDC report, more than 50% of suicide victims did not have a “previously known mental health” experience. This suggests that personal crises, financial stress, physical health, and other issues significantly influence suicidality.

Reaching Out

Another often overlooked factor in rising suicide rates is the stigma surrounding self-harm and seeking help. Stigmatizing language—for example: “commit suicide” instead of “die by suicide”—perpetuates unhelpful myths about suicidal ideation and behavior. Stigma also prevents open conversation among attempt survivors, and friends and family of victims.

Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to help reduce the stigma of suicide. Explore these resources to learn more:

Everyone Counts Campaign Media Alerts about suicide:

Other links: