Celebrity food host Anthony Bourdain's shocking suicide draws attention to need to address mental disorders
The deaths of chef-turned-TV host Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade this week has reminded Americans, and the rest of the world of the enormous toll of depression and suicide. Every year, suicide claims 45,000 lives a year in the United States.
Suicide rates in the U.S. have risen nearly by one-third since 1999. They have risen in both men and women.
Nearly half of people who died by suicide had a known mental health condition, according to studies. the CDC. Family members of Kate Spade say she suffered from bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. She had suffered from depression and anxiety for many years and was actively seeking help before she died on Tuesday.
Experts say that this points to the need to take mental illness more seriously. Both depression and bipolar disorder can be treated successfully, and suicide is often preventable.
The stigma of mental illness prevents suicide from getting much attention, apart from fleeting news coverage when celebrities, such as comedian Robin Williams, take their own lives. People suffering from serious mental illness are at high risk of suicide.
Mental illness generally first appears when people are in their teens or 20s. Sometimes, however, friends and families of people with a milder form of bipolar disorder can mistake their condition for depression.