Anthony Bourdain’s Suicide Comes Just Days After Kate Spade’s Tragic Death — And Suicide Rates Are Only Going Up

Anthony Bourdain tragically died from an apparent suicide just days after fashion icon Kate Spade was discovered unresponsive in her hotel room. The deaths of both icons have raised conversation about suicide. And as it turns out, suicide rates are only going up.

Read on to find out more details about this national problem, including just how common suicide has become (page 4) and which state has the highest number of suicide deaths (page 6).

Anthony Bourdain tragically died by suicide just days after Kate Spade took her own life

 Chef Anthony Bourdain speaks onstage during a panel.

Anthony Bourdain’s passing has devastated fans. | Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The New Yorker

A few days after Kate Spade died, chef and storyteller Anthony Bourdain was discovered unresponsive in his hotel room. Sadly, Bourdain died from an apparent suicide.

Bourdain’s life was not always what it seemed. The chef dealt with a serious heroin and cocaine addiction in his 20s, which he was able to kick with rehab. But Bourdain still drank, though he said he never had a temptation to relapse.

He once told Biography.com, “I should’ve died in my 20s. I became successful in my 40s. I became a dad in my 50s. I feel like I’ve stolen a car — a really nice car — and I keep looking in the rearview mirror for flashing lights.”

Next: Their deaths opened up a larger conversation.

Both icons’ deaths took the world by surprise

Anthony Bourdain sitting on stage.

The world was definitely not expecting this. | Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Turner

The deaths of a food and fashion icon in the same week shocked the world. Their rise to fame and creation of highly successful empires in the two popular areas of food and fashion made them appear nothing less than perfect. But outsiders never knew the struggle both Bourdain and Spade were going through. And it has opened up a worldwide suicide conversation.

Next: Their pasts insinuated things were not always what they seemed. 

They were fighting dark battles their admirers were unaware of

Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade collage.

Left: Anthony Bourdain was loved in the culinary industry. | Robin Marchant /Getty Images, Right: Kate Spade was an icon in the fashion community. | Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

Bourdain had been open about his past battle with drug addiction, but his death told a much deeper story. Bourdain overcame his drug struggle but was still battling untold demons. And Spade had kept quiet for years about her struggle with depression, eventually turning to alcohol more recently to numb the pain, according to her sister.

Both tragedies have reinforced that success does not drive happiness.

Next: Suicide rates have greatly risen in recent years. 

Suicide rates have increased by 25% since 1999

A young woman sitting in her room.

Suicide affects millions of people. | Kitzcorner/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in June 2018 detailing the rising rates of suicide across the country. According to the report, between 1999 and 2016, rates increased in every single state except Nevada. (Nevada saw a 1% decrease, but its numbers were still higher than the national average). Firearms were the most common method.

Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States but the second leading cause among 15- to 24-year-olds. Now, some prevention advocates want suicide to be labeled a national crisis.

Next: Mental illness doesn’t always play a role in suicide. 

In some states, more than half of all deaths were people with no known mental illness

Anthony Bourdain being interviewed on a red carpet.

Anthony Bourdain’s death can help raise awareness. | Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Surprisingly, suicide often impacted those who had no history of mental health problems. In 27 states, more than 50% of those who committed suicide had no known history of mental health disorders. A lack of mental health diagnoses shows people are not coming forward with their problems or the problems are arising quickly and unexpectedly. Experts believe the recession in 2008 also played a role in increasing numbers. According to The Washington Post, the increase was higher for white males than any other race or gender group.

Next: This state has seen the greatest increase in suicides since 1999. 

North Dakota has seen the greatest increase in rates

Male psychologist making notes.

The statistics are shocking. | Shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

According to the CDC’s report, since 1999, suicide rates in North Dakota have greatly increased. The numbers are more than 50% higher than they used to be. But the overall numbers were highest in Montana. There are 29.2 suicides for every 100,000 residents in Montana. The national average is 13.4 suicides.

Next: The number of suicides doesn’t necessarily reflect how many people need help. 

There were 45,000 suicides in 2016, and the attempted number is much higher

A father and son in a cemetery.

One suicide is one too many. | Patat/iStock/Getty Images

The 45,000 statistic may seem low when you think about the hundreds of millions of people in the United States. But even just one suicide is one too many. Plus, MedicineNet.com suggests the number of attempted suicides is far higher. There may be anywhere between eight and 25 attempted suicides for every one suicide death; that could mean more than 1 million attempts per year.

Next: More needs to be done to end the problem. 

Specific days and months have been dedicated to mental health, but it is not enough

Anthony Bourdain drinking from a glass at an event.

Those affected by Bourdain’s passing might be able to help their loved ones. | Dylan Rives/Getty Images for Food Network SoBe Wine & Food Festival

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, followed immediately by National Suicide Prevention Week. But only taking one day or week or month out of the year is not enough to stop this nationwide problem. Friends need to check on friends; neighbors need to check on neighbors.

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.

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