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Footnotes 2017-2018 > Anthony Bourdain

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message 1: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6844 comments I am so distraught over Bourdain's death by suicide. I've read 2 of his books and have watched him for years, first on the Food Network, nest on the Travel Channel and finally on CNN. Anthony Bourdain honed his craft and became more skilled. He invariably did his homework and knew what he was talking about. Recent episodes included Congo and Armenia. He called attention to King Leopold and the genocide done by Belgium at that time and in the episode on Armenian he didn't pussyfoot around the term but called it .

He enlightened his audience and it wasn't always about food.

So sad to see that he was so unhappy he chose suicide.


message 2: by punxsygal (new)

punxsygal | 290 comments Sad to see that someone with such a rich life still doesn’t feel that he has a happy life.


message 3: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6844 comments punxsygal wrote: "Sad to see that someone with such a rich life still doesn’t feel that he has a happy life."

Agreed.


message 4: by Tessa (FutureAuthor23) (last edited Jun 08, 2018 09:54PM) (new)

Tessa (FutureAuthor23) | 229 comments Hearing of 2 high-profile suicides within days of each other is very frustrating for someone like me. I struggle constantly with the topic of suicide.

4 years after my mom took her own life, 2 guys in a small town near me, started a group called Alive & Running for Suicide Prevention and Awareness. I had known one of the guys since high school (he had gone to a neighboring school). So I signed up for the event (a 5k) and participated in it annually after that. That first year the population of that small town is only 800 people and they got 1200 people to participate in their event. My sister and I did everything we could to help raise awareness and to get other people to join the event. 3 years ago they became a 501c3 and asked me to be a board member.

http://aliveandrunningiowa.com

We have done a lot to get our message out there, to raise awareness, donated lots of money to mental health facilities and other suicide prevention groups. But for the last year I have really struggled with whether any of this is actually helping. There's always been a stigma to suicide. People have been so hush-hush about it for centuries. Obviously some of that is because of religious beliefs (Catholics) and shame. But I think maybe some people didn't talk about it because they were afraid it might cause others to consider it an option too. And that is what I am afraid is happening. I mean the suicide rates keep going up! And some of that is due to an increasing lack of mental health care in our country. But is talking about suicide more freely and openly causing it too? There are so many copycat suicides after media coverage of famous suicides.

When I joined the Alive & Running group I felt like I was doing good. I felt like my mom's death was not going to be in vain. I was going to help change it for someone else. Now I just don't know.

When I was 13 my favorite uncle (my dad's brother) took his own life at the age of 24. I was literally devastated. I had never heard of suicide before that. Now we have 7 and 8 year olds who know what suicide is and are committing it! 15 years later, another uncle (my mom's brother) killed himself. My mom was furious that he would leave his kids like that and in such a horrible way (he shot himself in front of his youngest son who was 17). She said over and over again how she couldn't believe he would leave his kids. 1 year and 4 months later she left me and my sister. She was going through her 2nd divorce, 10 days away from turning 50, she had chronic pain issues.....but would she really have done it if her brother hadn't put the idea in her head that it was an option? Who knows. But I really wonder if talking about suicide is helping at all or making it worse.

Any thoughts on this?


message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1545 comments Tessa (FutureAuthor23) wrote: "Hearing of 2 high-profile suicides within days of each other is very frustrating for someone like me. I struggle constantly with the topic of suicide.

4 years after my mom took her own life, 2 gu..."


I’m sorry to hear about your personal experience with suicide. I am a psychologist and researcher and I specialize in suicide (I’m a founding member of the suicide prevention center at Brown University) Talking about suicide does not cause someone else to kill themselves nor does it increase the likelihood that someone else will try. All the research shows this. In fact talking about it has a positive effect because it brings the issue to the forefront and can allow treatment. We’ve looked at this extensively in our research bc we ask people detailed questions about their suicidal thoughts on a regular basis. There is a LOT of research that shows that talking about suicide is beneficial. These folks don’t start thinking about suicide as an option bc they see someone else attempt. They are already contemplating it and talking about it simply lets us know they are and can result in them getting help.

Suicide is more likely to run in families. Having a family history of suicide is one of the strongest predictors of suicide (along with past history of attempting). Chronic pain is also another strong predictor.

Those who attempt suicide do so to end the pain. They develop tunnel vision and are unable to see the deterrents in their lives (their family, friends, etc). Many of the patients I work with also see suicide as a way to take the burden away from their family in the long run - because they often see their depression/bipolar/mental illness as a burden to their loved ones.

Hope this helps. I also hope you continue doing your great work fundraising and bringing awareness. It’s so important.


message 6: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1545 comments As to why rates are increasing... it’s a complex issue. As a field we are still far from knowing what leads someone from ideation to action. Stigma and lack of availability/access to good mental health services is a problem. Rates in women are increasing significantly (women attempt at higher rates but men die of suicide more often). Over the last five years or so rates of suicide death by women have skyrocketed. Part of this is due to women using more lethal means — Higher gun attempt. Having a gun in the home increases risk of death by a lot. Also as we get better at identifying and reporting suicide deaths we are simply capturing more.

And we invest a lot of money in all sorts of medical diseases but almost nothing into suicide research. I have presented this at government forums in an attempt to advocate for more money. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in young people and yet NIH only gives a fraction of money to study it. Government gives much more money to study other diseases that don’t cause nearly the same number of deaths. Plus as researchers we can’t get federal money to study gun violence - and suicides are a main part of gun violence.


message 7: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1545 comments And about Bourdain... I feel very sad about the news. I loved his books and his show and was terribly sad to learn of his death.


message 8: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tstan) | 1237 comments Tessa (FutureAuthor23) wrote: "Hearing of 2 high-profile suicides within days of each other is very frustrating for someone like me. I struggle constantly with the topic of suicide.

4 years after my mom took her own life, 2 gu..."

I’m so sorry to hear of your family’s troubles. Losing someone in this manner can’t be easy.

Channeling that pain into helping others is such a good thing! Keep it up, and know that you ARE doing so much good- even if you help just one person, you’ve been successful. And I’m sure you’ve helped way more than you know!

Also- anything that can be done to promote mental health in Iowa, with our last in the nation status for mental health care, is only good! Please keep up the good work!


message 9: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tstan) | 1237 comments And thanks, Jen, for reminding everyone that suicide is NOT a selfish act or an easy way out.
And for doing what you do- helping people every day is a hard job, and it takes a special kind of person to be able to.


Tessa (FutureAuthor23) | 229 comments Thanks Jen for your informed insight on this. They just said on the news last night (not that you can believe everything in the news) that the suicide rate increased 10% in the 4 months after Robin Williams' suicide so that was another reason I brought that up.


message 11: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1545 comments Tessa (FutureAuthor23) wrote: "Thanks Jen for your informed insight on this. They just said on the news last night (not that you can believe everything in the news) that the suicide rate increased 10% in the 4 months after Robin..."

There have been recent changes in how we track and monitor death by suicides (prior deaths wouldn’t have been categorized as suicide that are now being identified as suicides) so I imagine that that is behind the increase. The real numbers are that rates have been steadily increasing for the past 10+ years. When there are high profile deaths there is often renewed attention on how we identify and track but looking at trends over years, there seem to be a steady increase that is accounted for by a fairly large number of factors that in combination increase risk.


message 12: by Nicole D. (new)

Nicole D. | 1497 comments Jen I'm so proud to call you a friend, and gutted about Bourdain.

Punx, as it's been discussed here, don't think it has much to do with "happiness" per se ... it's about being mired in whatever form of pain they are in with no way out.

Bourdain saw a lot of the world (and a lot of suffering) and I have to believe that ultimately impacted him. Also, travel wears you out and puts your brain in a different state, not to mention whatever kind of meds he may have been on.

it's still so upsetting. He was a guy who said "eff-it" and seemingly lived his life his way. I guess he ultimately died his way as well.


message 13: by punxsygal (new)

punxsygal | 290 comments Nicole, From what I have read, Bourdain has not described his life as happy. And I find that a shame. As to why he, or anyone, commits suicide there has to be some deep feelings only they can know and we can but guess.


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