So tragic about the suicides Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, isn't it? I pray for their loved ones and work associates. Both were at the top of their games professionally, but apparently at their lowest ebb spiritually and emotionally. Anthony and Kate had the money and resources to find help, yet were seemingly unable to ask for assistance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Atlanta report that suicides are up in almost every state. Suicide among first responders (particularly in EMS) continues to increase and the same among military service members. Chances are statistically that you know someone who is having suicidal thoughts.
My friends Trish Buchanan and Sean Riley are both working to improve awareness of suicide prevention and resources to assist first responders in need of help.
Trish created a CT charity, Believe 308, which provides funding and advocacy for mental health issues after the suicide of her husband, East Hartford CT Police Officer Paul Buchanan.
After his addiction, Sean Riley created Safe Call Now, an advocacy and referral network for first responders who suffer from a variety of mental health issues or addictions and need a confidential place to find healing.
What can we ordinary folks do? In an increasingly polarized America where we are connected yet separated by social media, we can reach out to others personally with a smile, some kind words, a hug or an invitation for coffee.
I do believe that the isolation we create while furiously texting or emailing and not even looking at the person right next to us, is a contributor to an increasingly soul-less society. We can invite others to our church or a club or just chat with a neighbor. Isolation can be a killer.
We can advocate with legislators for mental health care resources to be improved. We can also educate ourselves about local resources which already exist.
Here are two excellent national resources:
For First Responders:
Safe Call Now
206 459 3020
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
800 273 8255
Perhaps the very best thing we can do is pray without ceasing.