The suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, whose deaths this week stunned the world, are calling attention to the alarming rise in the number of Americans who have taken their own lives.
Nearly 45,000 Americans killed themselves in 2016, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following Spade’s death.
That figure tops the number of opioid overdose deaths across the U.S. in the same period of time. It also illustrated a nearly 30-percent increase in suicide rates between 1999 and 2016.
More than 54 percent of people who died as a result of suicide did not have a known mental health condition.
Though Spade was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety, “there was no indication and no warning that she would do this,” Spade’s husband, Andy Spade, said after she was found dead Tuesday in their Manhattan apartment.
The death of Bourdain, who was found unresponsive in a France hotel room Friday, has also left many shocked.
"Anthony," Chrissy Teigen wrote on Twitter. "One of my idols. Unapologetic, passionate and one of the best storytellers on the planet. Thank you for making food so exciting. And always standing up for everything right. Horrible. Why why why. Be at peace now :("
“Mental health can impact anyone," actress Alyssa Milano tweeted. "It does not discriminate. If you are struggling, you are not alone. It’s ok to be f***ed up. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s going to be ok. Rest in Light, @Bourdain. Thanks for taking us on all your adventures."
Fellow chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay also took to Twitter, writing: “Stunned and saddened by the loss of Anthony Bourdain. He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food. Remember that help is a phone call away US: 1-800-273-TALK UK: 166 123."
In a February interview, Bourdain said he felt a “responsibility” to live for his 11-year-old daughter, whose birth inspired him to readjust his approach to life.
"There have been times, honestly, in my life that I figured, 'I’ve had a good run — why not just do this stupid thing, this selfish thing… jump off a cliff into water of indeterminate depth,'" he told People.
Before the birth of his daughter, Ariane, Bourdain said he would "go to places" where "I was, frankly, asking for trouble. It was a daredevil move.
“In retrospect, I don’t know that I would do that today — now that I’m a dad or reasonably happy."
The CDC’s report notes suicide is rarely caused by one single factor or solely by mental health conditions.
“Other problems often contribute to suicide, such as those related to relationships, substance use, physical health, and job, money, legal or housing stress," the report said.
Experts say speaking with professionals who can help address and deal with suicidal thoughts is the first step toward prevention.
If you are in a crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). All calls are confidential.