clear
Tuesday June 19th, 2018 11:48PM

Celebrity suicides highlight troubling trend in midlife

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CHICAGO (AP) — The deaths of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade highlight a troubling trend — rising suicides among middle-aged Americans.

Mental health problems, often undiagnosed, are usually involved and experts say knowing warning signs and who is at risk can help stop a crisis from becoming a tragedy.

Bourdain, 61, and Spade, 55, died three days and a continent apart this week amid a new U.S. report showing an uptick in suicides rates in nearly every state since 1999. Middle-aged adults — ages 45 to 64 — had the largest rate increase, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previous studies have suggested economic downturns and the nation's opioid crisis contributed to the rise in middle-aged suicides.

Dr. Christine Moutier, a psychiatrist and chief medical officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said Friday it's important for everyone to know the warning signs and to intervene when family members, friends or co-workers appear troubled. Asking if they've had suicidal thoughts is not harmful and lets them know you care, she said.

Behavior that may indicate someone is suicidal includes:

—Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, a burden to others or wanting to die.

—Unusual mood swings or withdrawing from family, friends and usual activities.

—Giving away important possessions.

—Increased use of alcohol or drugs.

This week's report found that many suicides were in people with no known mental illness. But Dr. Joshua Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said that contradicts years of data, suggesting many have "gone undiagnosed and untreated. It's very troubling."

Gordon said doctors need to ask patients at every opportunity about their mental health and evaluate their risk for suicide.

"When you ask everybody and not just people you might suspect, you double the number you detect," he said.

Gordon noted that psychotherapy and certain psychiatric drugs have been shown to reduce suicidal tendencies.

Moutier of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said that suicides can be "contagious" — hearing about one may make others who are already at risk turn to self-harm. She said celebrity suicides also typically prompt an increase in calls to suicide help lines.

"People should know that suicide is preventable. Anyone contemplating suicide should know that help is available, and that there is no shame in seeking care for your mental health," Dr. Altha Stewart of the American Psychiatric Association said in a statement.

___

Follow AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner on Twitter: @LindseyTanner . Her work can be found here .

___

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bush on Barbara's birthday: Pay it forward with joyful heart
Former President George H.W. Bush is remembering his wife, Barbara Bush, on what would've been her 93rd birthday
5:41PM ( 5 minutes ago )
New $2.5B contract awarded to manage nuclear weapons lab
Overseeing a top nuclear weapons laboratory that has had security and safety problems will be the responsibility of a new management team that includes two universities and a research firm
5:41PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Celebrity suicides highlight troubling trend in midlife
The deaths of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade highlight a troubling trend _ rising suicides among middle-aged Americans
5:38PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Some like it not: Marilyn Monroe statue has church venting
Marilyn Monroe statue drawing ire as nearby church gets full view of her behind
3:47PM ( 2 hours ago )
Reaction to the death of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain
Reaction to the death of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain
3:18PM ( 2 hours ago )
Bourdain suicide a reminder of celebrities' distance from us
We thought we knew them: The suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade show the gap between public image and private life
3:15PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Palace: Queen Elizabeth II had successful eye surgery
Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II had successful eye surgery to treat a cataract last month
1:08PM ( 4 hours ago )
Bourdain's imprint to end after contracted books come out
Anthony Bourdain's book imprint will be discontinued after the remaining works under contract come out, the Associated Press has learned
12:34PM ( 5 hours ago )
Trump considers Ali pardon; late boxer's lawyer says no need
President Donald Trump says he may pardon the late heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, but it's an act of clemency that the boxer's lawyer says is unnecessary because the Supreme Court overturned the heavyweight champion's conviction in 1971.
12:10PM ( 5 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Bush on Barbara's birthday: Pay it forward with joyful heart
Former President George H.W. Bush is remembering his wife, Barbara Bush, on what would've been her 93rd birthday
5:41PM ( 5 minutes ago )
New $2.5B contract awarded to manage nuclear weapons lab
Overseeing a top nuclear weapons laboratory that has had security and safety problems will be the responsibility of a new management team that includes two universities and a research firm
5:41PM ( 6 minutes ago )
For Bourdain, food was a storytelling tool _ and a passport
For Anthony Bourdain, food was a storytelling tool, and a passport to explore cultures across the globe
5:32PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Larson trying for 4 straight wins at Michigan
Kyle Larson is still seeking his first victory of the season, but he's won three Cup Series races in a row at Michigan, the site of this weekend's event
5:27PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Critics blast Trump for sending border detainees to prison
The Trump administration's decision to send border detainees to federal prisons has compounded the ire of immigrant rights activists, but authorities insist it's necessary to deter illegal border-crossing
5:26PM ( 20 minutes ago )