It is difficult to reconcile the suicides this week of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and acclaimed designer Kate Spade. By outward appearances, these should be the happiest people among us; they’ve achieved great career success, wealth and fame. But these startling events should somber us all to an important message; depression and mental illness do not discriminate.
Each year, more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss.1
More often than we realize, depression occurs among people who look “okay.” Depressed people look a whole lot like the rest of us. While media depictions of depression have led those of us fortunate enough not to suffer from this debilitating illness to believe that depressed people stand out, they usually don’t. The fact is, depressed people look a whole lot like people who are okay.
Download: Suicide in America – FAQ Sheet
For most of us, hearing this causes us to ask—how can I help? How can I identify depression in my loved ones, friends or coworkers? If their sadness is outwardly indistinguishable, how will I know?
The answer is you probably won’t know. But the solution is in our small, everyday acts. Be someone people can reach out to, someone who offers compassion. Listen; not to respond, just to hear. Foster real connections; just one person who offers genuine empathy makes a difference. Similar to the way one teacher can change the entire trajectory of a child’s life, supportive bonds predict adult outcomes as well.
And while emotional connectedness is important, it cannot replace the important role of therapy and/or medications in treating depression. If you or a friend or loved one is experiencing depression or another behavioral health concern, help is abundant and accessible here at Harrington. In crisis, call 911 or visit the emergency department. For routine visits, contact our outpatient scheduling line to get set up with a therapist who can help.
Psychiatric Emergency Services: 508-765-3035 or 911
National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255
Outpatient Scheduling at Harrington: 508-765-2222