The death of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain on Friday and fashion designer Kate Spade earlier in the week spotlights the importance of recognizing potential warning signs when someone intends to end their life.
The attention is needed, especially now.
When a high-profile person dies by suicide, the "celebrity-suicide effect" can lead to a rise in copycat deaths. In the four months after Robin William’s took his own life in 2014, there was a 10% increase — almost 2,000 additional suicides — recorded.
There is already a rise in suicide rates in the US, increasing more than 25% since 1999. Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in 2015, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Suicide rates are also rising worldwide, with some one million people dying annually from suicide. The World Health Organization estimates a global suicide rate of one death every 40 seconds, which by 2020 they predict will increase to one every 20 seconds.
If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, there are ways to help:
Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people in suicidal crisis or distress. You can learn more about its services here, including its guide on what to do if you see suicidal language on social media. You can also call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone about how you can help a person in crisis. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.
For the TrevorLifeline, a suicide prevention counseling service for the LGBTQ community, call 1-866-488-7386.
Text HOME to 741741 to have a confidential text conversation with a trained crisis counselor from Crisis Text Line. Counselors are available 24/7. You can learn more about how the texting service works here.
For online chat, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides a confidential chat window, with counselors available 24/7.
Boys Town also provides counselors for youth-specific online chat at this link. It is available every Monday through Friday between 6 p.m. and midnight in the Central time zone.
Getting help around the world
For support outside of the US, a worldwide directory of resources and international hotlines is provided by the International Association for Suicide Prevention. You can also turn to Befrienders Worldwide.
Another way to help is by supporting the nonprofits that provide suicide counseling, prevention and education. Volunteers are needed, and some train to become counselors.
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