On Friday, American chef, writer, and TV host Anthony Bourdain passed away at the age of 61, the manner of death reportedly suicide.
Honestly, reports of celebrity deaths do not usually phase me. It isn’t at all that I don’t care – no. Even when unfamiliar with the person, my heart goes out to their family and friends and all the others they may have positively impacted in their life. Any death is a great loss to someone. But this particular news – I must say – hit me a bit harder than usual.
There have been many moving tributes to the man, his words, and his deeds in the days since (such as this one from the network for which Bourdain worked, CNN), so I won’t attempt to summarize and eulogize his life and works here. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed watching his shows, I appreciated his unapologetic honesty about his struggles, and I admired his open-minded acceptance of people from all walks of life around the world.
Unfortunately, suicide as a cause of death is on the rise in the USA. According to a recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention release, the suicide rate has risen by about 30 percent in 25 states over the span of time between 1999 and 2016.
These are heavy things to consider, for sure, but hopefully something positive can come from their discussion. I have noticed, for instance, that in each news report about Bourdain’s passing (as well as that of 55-year-old American designer Kate Spade who also took her own life this past week), the report has ended with a helpline number or link to another important mental health and suicide prevention resource. Good mental health is integral to our overall well-being, so the more ways we know of to help maintain it, the better.
For anyone out there who may be struggling, please know that you are never alone, you are loved. There’s a particular type of meditation called loving-kindness which includes the saying of a mantra I’d like to share with you now so that you might share it with yourself and others in the future during moments of unrest… ‘May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.’
Please also find below a few resources for yourself or others if needed. I hope they can be of some positive assistance.
For UK residents, the NHS has a comprehensive list of helplines and support groups to do with everything from anxiety to OCD to eating disorders.
For those living in the US, see the CDC for an array of mental health tools and resources. You can also find the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline here.