What questions are we asking about the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain?

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Rebecca Barnes, Publisher

Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. Successful, famous people who ended their lives. Social media is blowing up with questions, sorrow, and even judgment. “Why would someone that has everything kill themselves?”

This, friends, is the wrong question. What we need to ask ourselves is: “What are we doing about it?”

Depression and suicidal thoughts have nothing to do with status, financial success, being an extrovert, being weak or being selfish. Every day, approximately 22 veterans take their own lives. I doubt anyone would call them weak or selfish. Mental illness and depression can strike anyone. Everyone is susceptible; no one is immune.

Some people have a tragic event or trauma that triggers it. Others may have a TBI (head injury). Still others may be genetically predisposed. And even those that have no outward sign or “reason” can be affected. If you have never suffered from depression, consider yourself lucky. Approximately seven percent of people will experience a serious bout of depression in their lifetime. They are not selfish. They are not weak. They cannot just “shake it off.” They cannot just move on.

It’s time we STOP judging and start doing. In a world where we are more connected than ever, we have never been less connected.

Let’s have this conversation about mental health, and let’s have it often. Let’s make physical contact with friends and family. Let’s take better care of ourselves and our physical and mental needs. Let’s be kinder to each other. It is literally a matter of life and death.

For local resources, read the Prince William Living Facebook page and the January 2018 feature, “Keeping Your Mental Health in Mind.”

-As seen on Facebook: #RebeccasBlog

Rebecca Barnes is the publisher of Prince William Living and Brides and Weddings magazines and the Director of Give Back Prince William. She is a past chair of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and a founding task force member and past chair of Leadership Prince William.

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