Rising Concerns about Suicide Arise with the Passings of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain

Rising Concerns about Suicide Arise with the Passings of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain

June 9, 2018 12:00 pm Published by

Kate Spade, the fashion icon, and Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef, both died by suicide this week. Both well-known figures hanged themselves, Spade in her apartment in NYC on Tuesday, June 5, and Bourdain in his hotel room in France on Friday, June 8. We know that Spade suffered from mental health issues, namely anxiety and depression. While news is still emerging about both tragedies, both families are overcome with grief and are trying to cope with their losses. These deaths shed light on bigger issues: mental health and rising suicide rates. Read on for more information about the luminaries, and how we, as a society, should approach mental health and suicide:

Kate Spade

Kate Spade's logo

The fashion designer was found dead in her Manhattan apartment by her housekeeper on Tuesday morning. Police arrived on scene at 10:10 am to find that she had hung herself. Spade left a note in which she referenced her daughter as well as her husband, Andy Spade. News broke after her death about her state of mental health. Having co-founded the fashion line Kate Spade New York with her husband in 1993, she had begun distancing herself from the company and eventually sold 56% of ownership in 1999 to Neiman Marcus for $33.6 million. In 2007, Kate finally passed the torch to Liz Claiborne. In the months leading up to the incident, Andy Spade divulged that he and Kate were separated, though not legally, and had been living apart since August 2017. They were still good friends, they just had to distance themselves from each other and figure out their issues. Kate suffered from depression, but Andy said she seemed happy and her death came as a complete shock to him.

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain posing with his Peabody Award in 2013

The chef turned TV personality was found dead in his hotel room in France on Friday morning. He was in France shooting an episode for his TV series Parts Unknown. He, too, died by suicide, and his friend, Eric Ripert, found him hanging. Bourdain was a feisty TV personality with a keen interest in expanding his world view by trying exotic foods from around the world, hence the title of his program. In 2013, Bourdain won the Peabody Award for his CNN show and the judges sang his praises. “He’s irreverent, honest, curious, never condescending, and never obsequious.” Bourdain’s show saw success as, “People open up to him and, in doing so, often reveal more about their hometowns or homelands than a traditional reporter could hope to document,” said the Award judges. Bourdain understood that food is something over which people, regardless of cultural background and ethnicity, can bond.

The Bigger Issue

Mental health can play a role in suicide, but this is just correlation, not causation. Recently, there has been an increase in talking about mental health problems, both in recognizing them and seeking both help from doctors and professionals, as well as support from family and friends. It’s important to talk to someone about either treating your mental health problems or tackling and overcoming suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know is suicidal or has expressed suicidal thoughts, please seek help. Contact the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.


Mental health and suicide are serious issues that we, as a society, need to tackle. Disabilities and independent living are not only physical, but also mental. For all your disability and independent living needs, contact ILCNSCA by phone at 978-741-0077, or visit our website at https://ilcnsca.org/.

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This post was written by Sperling

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