Things happen in threes? Let's hope not

Friday, June 8, 2018

They say things happen in threes, but there’s no reason the superstition has to prove true in this case.

We remember reading an interview with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who said his job, traveling the world in search of culinary adventure, was actually a lonely one.

If only he had found help before apparently resorting to suicide today in France.

The news broke only three days after another tragedy, the suicide of designer Kate Spade, famed fashion designer who was in the midst of launching a new venture.

Sensitive news people, if there is such a thing, are often torn when it comes to suicide — can reporting on it lead to more? — but such high-profile events cannot be ignored.

Spade’s husband, Andrew, who looks much like his brother, comedian and actor David Spade, said his wife and business partner suffered from depression and anxiety for years. Judging from Bourdain's comments mentioned earlier, loneliness was an issue with him as well.

Yes, there were warning signs, but suicide is rarely caused by any single factor, according to health professionals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of the suicides in a 2015 study group were among people with no known mental health condition. According to coroner reports, many of the deaths followed relationship problems, substance use, financial crises, job loss or divorce.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and one of just three leading causes of death that are increasing. The others are Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdoses.

There were nearly 45,000 suicides in 2016. Middle-aged adults, ages 45 to 64, had the largest rate increase, up 19.2 per 100,000 in2016 and from 13.2 per 100,000 in 1999.

Often lost in the gun debate is the fact that 60 percent of gun deaths are suicide, and the CDC reported that people without known mental health problems were more likely to die by firearms than those with known mental health problems.

If there is any good to come out of high-profile suicides, perhaps it is to increase awareness of the problem, both for vulnerable individuals and for their friends and relatives.

Let’s keep involved and aware, and work to prevent this tragic trend from growing any farther.

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