Mental illness knows no bounds; Professionals share what you can do to help those in need


Anthony Bourdain's death and Kate Spade's death earlier this week are shocking and saddening their fans.

Both were at the top of their fields and seemed to have so much.

Their deaths show that mental illness knows no bounds.

For those personally struggling or who have a loved one they're concerned about, mental health professionals say the best place to start is to have a conversation.

"Say I'm worried about you," says Dr. Catherine Harrison-Restelli, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at GBMC. "You don't seem like yourself or you don't have that same smile or that same spunk."

"Ask that loved one, ask that person, do they have suicidal thoughts?" says Dr. Ben Borja, Medical Director of Crisis Services at Sheppard Pratt Health System.

If you're concerned a loved one is suicidal, doctors say don't shy away from talking with them.

"We often think that people who are going to commit suicide are just going to do it anyway and nothing I can do matters, but that's actually not true," Dr. Harrison-Restelli says.

According to the CDC, suicide rates are rising all across the US.

In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans over age 10 committed suicide making it the tenth leading cause of death.

"Most, but not all folks who commit suicide have a mental illness," says Dr. Harrison-Restelli.

Doctors say know the warning signs and risk factors like depression, withdrawing socially, changes in behavior, substance abuse.

"Suicide is often an impulsive act," she says.

"It's not something where you want to feel like it's your fault," says Dr. Borja. "It's not a defect in character. It's a defect in chemistry. If you can get the treatment for depression early on, you can prevent this and that's the key."

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.

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