We are saddened by today’s news of the tragic loss of CNN reporter Anthony Bourdain to suicide. He was a celebrated chef, author, and television personality and will be missed. With the recent suicide of designer Kate Spade and the CDC Vital Signs Report on Suicide, there’s a spotlight on this major public health crisis. It is also a vivid reminder of how much more we need to do as a nation to better understand mental health and to take the steps necessary to prevent this tragic loss of life.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in our country and these recent events are a call to action. Working together, there are steps we can take now to help prevent suicide, such as:
- Increase federal funding for suicide prevention research to fully address the steps needed to identify people at high risk in community and clinical settings, and to prevent suicide.
- Increase public awareness of the importance of mental health and effective health care. Currently less than half of people with a diagnosable mental health condition in the U.S. receive mental health treatment.
- Encourage open dialogue about any challenges people are facing, better understanding of the warning signs of suicide, leading those who are struggling to help, and protecting one another by removing lethal means from those at risk, especially safe storage of medications and firearms.
These clear steps can play a significant role in helping to save lives. And AFSP is working diligently on the above actions and more.
With all of us working together and by collectively making a massive investment in suicide prevention research, resources and quality mental health care we can and we will reverse the rising suicide rate.
This week of increased media attention on suicide is also a reminder that all of us need to take care of our own mental health and the well-being of those around us. If you are struggling, take the time you need for self-care and help seeking and be sure to reach out to someone you trust or reach out to someone you are concerned about. Ask those in your life how they are doing. Listen intently, and seek professional help if needed.
If someone is in crisis, please direct them to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or to text “Talk” to 741741.
Together, we can save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.
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