Anthony Bourdain Dead, And Thoughts On Mental Health [VIDEO]

Anthony Bourdain Dead, And Thoughts On Mental Health [VIDEO]

Anthony Bourdain Dead, And Thoughts On Mental Health [VIDEO]

The news broke early this morning that celebrity chef, TV star, and travel host Anthony Bourdain had committed suicide while working on his latest TV show in France. He was 61 years old, and leaves behind a girlfriend, multitudes of fans, and an 11 year old daughter.

Following so closely on the news of designer Kate Spade’s suicide is only increasing the shock. The fact that both are leaving behind young daughters makes it so much worse.

Happy Father's Day @anthonybourdain! #bestdad

A post shared by ottavia busia-bourdain (@ottaviabourdain) on

His girlfriend, Asia Argento, has made a statement via Twitter.

His celebrity colleagues are grieving.

Some of them urged people to seek help.

The media companies that he worked with are also paying tribute to him.

And this rings absolutely true right now.

Depression needs to be recognized for what it is – a mental illness that needs appropriate treatment by certified professionals. Being “sad” is not the same as being clinically depressed. If you don’t know the difference, ask for help from a professional.

As Ben Shapiro notes, the media needs to examine how it covers suicide.

In an age of mass media, the so-called Werther Effect becomes more prominent. One of the most durable findings in social science is the temporary uptick in suicide rate that often follows heavy media coverage of suicide. People who are vulnerable to suicidal thoughts are far more likely to commit suicide in the wake of such coverage. The Werther Effect is named after The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe; that book supposedly caused suicides all over the continent when it came out thanks to its rather romantic depiction of a lovelorn young man shooting himself. But the Werther Effect has been confirmed in the aftermath of Marilyn Monroe’s suicide, for example; the months after her death, there were 303 excess suicides (higher than average) in the United States. As The Atlantic reported, when Netflix released the suicide-glorying 13 Reasons Why, “Google queries about suicide rose by almost 20 percent in 19 days after the show came out, representing between 900,000 and 1.5 million more searches than usual regarding the subject… Seventeen out of the top 20 searches were significantly elevated, and the biggest increases came with terms related to suicidal thoughts and ideation, like ‘how to kill yourself.’” Many European countries have laws regarding reporting on suicide; after implementing such laws, suicide rates declined. That doesn’t mean we should attempt such First Amendment violations in the United States. It does mean that we in the media should seriously consider our reportage.

After Kate Spade’s death, writer Bethany Mandel wrote about her own father’s suicide and its impact on her.

In the wake of high-profile suicides like Spade’s, there is a great deal of discussion about the person who committed the deed and far too little about the survivors, who are especially in need of support and guidance.

Suicide is one of the top causes of death in the country across demographics, and one of the least funded or researched. As a result, we have little understanding about what leads those like Kate Spade, or my father, to commit the act. We don’t talk about the act, nor do we talk about the impact it has on those around the deceased.

We often hear from those who have attempted suicide but survived that they believed the world would be better off without them. While sharing suicide-prevention hotline numbers can help a great deal, sharing the perspectives and grief of those left behind can as well. Because those still in this world but contemplating an exit must know that their feelings of self-worthlessness are not shared by those who love them.

If someone is contemplating suicide, they should know the utter devastation that will be left in their wake. While those who have died may have thought the world a better place without them, we survivors are living witness to the fact that it is not, that our worlds will not ever be whole without them in it.

Mandel tweeted more today after the Bourdain news broke.

There are better days ahead.

There is someone willing to listen, if you are ready to talk.

Be the someone that people can talk to.

Remember that this week, there are two young girls who have lost a beloved parent. Pray for them.

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  • GWB says:

    I’ll simply repeat what Scott Ott said (from the PJ Media LiveBlog, via Paula Bolyard):
    There is no sudden uptick in celebrity suicides, rather there’s a generational surge in the number of celebrities. Expect more terrible news like Bourdain and Spade, because the massive expansion of TV channels, internet media outlets, and product distribution points, leads inexorably to more “high profile” people, and thus to a greater numbers of those who kill themselves.

    The other trend these stories highlight is the despair among celebrities and ordinary selfie-lebrities, when we discover that fame, wealth and their accoutrements do not satisfy the longing in the soul for joy, love and forgiveness.

    Only one ‘celebrity’ can grant that, and he doesn’t need a YouTube channel to prove it. His words, and life, have been enshrined on common parchment and paper for nearly 2,000 years.

    It doesn’t address the whole thing, but a couple of aspects of it. And the most important bit: there IS someone who can give you hope. You won’t find Him suddenly outed with scandal, or leaving you stranded, or lying to you. He’s bigger than anything you face, no matter how great or legion your demons. And He wants you.

  • Scott says:

    Well said GWB

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