Statement About Suicide in the News

There has been a lot of news coverage this week about the tragic deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, as well as the just released CDC Report on the increase in suicides. SAVE expresses our heartfelt and deep sorrow to both the Spade and Bourdain families during this very painful and difficult time. We work daily with families touched by suicide and recommend that the media and the public allow the families time and space to grieve their loss.

SAVE is at the forefront of working to prevent suicide and be a resource for those touched by suicide. Research has shown that when there is news about celebrity deaths by suicide, there is an increased risk of copycat suicide. That is why we want to share a few key messages at this time:

  1. Use caution when talking about suicide rates. While suicide rates are increasing, there is no epidemic of suicide. We do not want people to panic given the media coverage on the topic, but rather use this as an opportunity to raise awareness and educate people about the realities of suicide and that it is preventable in most cases.
  2. Suicide is a public health crisis and more needs to be done at all levels of our government and in our communities to prevent these tragedies. Actions you can take:
    1. Learn the warning signs of suicideAlthough it may not always be obvious, individuals experiencing an emotional crisis usually exhibit one or more of the warning signs of suicide. Your ability to identify the signs will better prepare you to take action and could help save a life.
    2. Be aware of and able to share resources in your community and nationally. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and the Crisis Text Line (text Hello to 741 741) are free and available 24/7. Local crisis services, school counselors, Employee Assistance Programs and other service providers are available for those who need to talk with someone.
    3. Call your Senators and Representatives in Congress and state legislators and tell them more funding for research, education and treatment is needed now.
  3. Check in with people you know and who you are worried about. Extensive media coverage on suicide can increase worry, distress and fears that they too might not be able to survive if a respected or admired celebrity cannot. Call, email, text, or go see someone who might be at increased risk and ask them how they are doing. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are asking someone if they’ve been considering suicide. Know that ASKING ABOUT SUICIDE will not increase their risk of death. It may be the one thing that keeps them from dying.

Suicide is not the answer to life’s adversities. In fact, everyone faces challenges in life and most people cope effectively through difficult times. When someone you know is struggling, offer your genuine concern and support to seek help. You don’t have to be a doctor to help save someone’s life. If you are struggling, know that you are never alone and you do not have to solve your problems on your own. Use this list of crisis resources in the USA to find the best help option for you.

More information on suicide prevention and coping with a suicide loss can be found at www.save.org.