Kate Spade’s Death Raises Awareness on the Topic of Suicide

As family, friends and fans of the incomparable and elegant fashion designer Kate Spade mourn her death, it leaves us all asking ourselves questions.

Why? Why would she do this? What was going on in her life? Did she have a mental illness? Did she seek help before committing suicide?

Authorities have concluded that Kate committed suicide by hanging herself. She was 55 years old. Reports indicate that Kate left her daughter a note saying that this suicide wasn’t Kate’s daughter’s fault.

Conflicting reports in the reputable media as well as in the tabloid-style media mention that Kate and her husband might have been splitting up and that her return to the fashion business (after taking time off to raise her child) was fraught with problems.

All reports say she possibly had depression issues or was possibly bipolar. But the reports conflict one another as to whether she sought help for her emotional challenges.

Anyone who knows anything about the fashion industry through the decades knows that Kate played a pivotal role in the fashion world in the 1990s. She a sense of elegance yet accessibility that resonated in her designs, from purses and bags to clothes.

She will be missed by many.

So … about those questions. Here’s the deal: The details are a private matter. And hopefully, Kate’s loved ones – especially her daughter – will be showered with love and support as they try to cope in their time of loss and sorrow. And, as they get the answers they need;

For the rest of us, Kate Spade’s death has brought the issue of suicide, depression, and mental illness into the light again. During the same week she committed suicide, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report stating that nearly 45,000 people committed suicide in 2016. That’s more than the amount of people killed in car crashes or opioid overdoses.

The report also states that more than half of the nation has seen a spike of more than 30 percent in suicide rates between 1999 and 2016. Of the statistics keep on women, those in the age group of 45-64 had the highest rate.

“Any life stressors that are weighing on someone who has a history of or is currently struggling with their mental health — that’s a person who you have to be worried about,” psychiatrist Catherine Birndorf told CBS News June 7.

There isn’t one single cause or factor experts can point to as to why a person commits suicide.

It sounds hopeless. But it’s not. There’s something we all can do for our family, friends, and coworkers concerning this issue, according to Birndorf.

“I hope people pay attention to those around them,” Birndorf said. “That if they see someone who is suffering or acting unlike themselves or despairing, hopeless, withdrawing from social activities that they check in on them. They make sure that they are getting the help that they need.”

In many cases, that help – especially from a trained professional – can make a difference. It may even save a life.

Anyone in crisis can call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for immediate and confidential assistance. The number can be called 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Share this number with a friend or loved one in need. And, please … don’t be ashamed to use it yourself if necessary.

Whatever is troubling you, don’t give up. There’s a way out and there’s help. I just wish Kate Spade knew that. R.I.P. Kate …

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