CNN announced Friday that Anthony Bourdain, a chef best known for his television show Parts Unknown, was found unresponsive in a hotel room in an apparent suicide. The chef’s death comes less than a week after noted fashion designer Kate Spade also apparently took her own life.
People usually exhibit some warning signs before they choose to end their lives, and knowing how to recognize and respond to those signals can assist individuals in getting help. Significant behavioral changes — or behavior that seems completely out of character — can be a signal that a person could be suicidal, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, particularly if the change is related to trauma or loss.
Warning signs can include:
- drug or alcohol abuse
- withdrawal from activities or people
- too much sleep or too little
- saying goodbye or giving up prized possessions
- sudden increase in recklessness and risk taking
- sudden change from the above symptoms to a happy and peaceful mood
Verbal warning can include:
- talk of hurting oneself or lacking a reason to live
- expressing feelings of being trapped or hopeless
- feeling like a burden to others
Depression, often undiagnosed, is the condition most commonly associated with suicide, though anxiety and substance abuse also increase the risk. Suicides are most common when a combination of stressful external factors and health issues converge to cause despair.
It’s also important to know how to approach someone who may be at risk of harming themselves.
People in crisis can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (-8255) or use the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
Other organizations that may offer help include:
Mental Health Association in New Jersey 973-571-4100
National Alliance on Mental Illness 703-524-7600; HelpLine: 800-950-6264
Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention