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RIP KATE SPADE: DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE IN FASHION....AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

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It was announced this morning that designer Kate Spade was found dead by suicide in a Manhattan apartment. The story is still developing, but police say she hanged herself and left a suicide note. The news is tragic and comes as a surprise. However–we must remember that oftentimes depression is an invisible illness. Even people who seem happy can be depressed and want to end their lives. Even successful business women who design predominantly bright, colorful handbags can be depressed and want to end their lives. Sadly, we sometimes don't even know what kind of struggle someone is going through until it's too late. It can happen to ANYBODY–even if it seems like they "have it all" as Kate Spade seemed to.
   
Kate isn't the first fashion designer to commit suicide. In 2010, Alexander McQueen killed himself, 
In 2014, designer  L’Wren Scott killed herself. All 3 designers coincidentally (or, maybe not coincidentally) hanged themselves. All 3 were successful and iconic in their own ways. This wasn't enough to ward off depression.
  
Let me say this:
Being glamorous does not make you immune to depression. Being successful does not make you immune to depression. Being rich does not make you immune to depression.
   
Let me say it again for the people in the back:
BEING GLAMOROUS DOES NOT MAKE YOU IMMUNE TO DEPRESSION. BEING SUCCESSFUL DOES NOT MAKE YOU IMMUNE TO DEPRESSION. BEING RICH DOES NOT MAKE YOU IMMUNE TO DEPRESSION.
   
So, what can we do about it? Society as a whole needs to be both more sensitive and more educated when it comes to the topic of mental illness. Even in 2018, speaking about depression is taboo. We still stigmatize people for having mental illness–so IT'S NO WONDER that people who are struggling are afraid to come forward and share their stories or ask for help. Who knows how many people are suffering in silence? We can't change the past – but we can try to make a better future for mental illness sufferers. 
   
Step 1: Educate yourself and others
Here are some websites with valuable and accurate information about depression and suicide:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
   
Step 2: Be an ally
Be open and honest. If you are struggling yourself, don't be afraid to open up about it. By opening up yourself, you will inspire others to do the same. If you don't suffer from depression but still want to help, let it be known that you are available to talk or just be a shoulder to cry on for those in need. Learn as much as you can about depression, and listen when those in distress speak to you. However, being an ally also means knowing that there's only so much you can do to help. Know that you may need to help your friend get professional help. Offer to help them find a therapist or drive with them to their next appointment. 
  
Step 3: Never stop trying to break the stigma
Keep talking about mental illness. Keep learning about mental illness. Keep educating others. Keep being a shoulder to cry on. Never be judgemental. Remember depression and suicide can affect ANYBODY–no matter their background or their current situation.
    
Resources to use if you or someone you know may be suicidal:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line:  Text CONNECT to 741741 
        
REMEMBER: If you're going through hell, keep going. 
*Main Image by Andrew Toth via Forbes.com*

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