In 2014, after the tragic death of actor-comedian Robin Williams, the suicide rates across the United States spiked by 10 percent. Among them 32 percent used self-induced suffocation method, the same way Williams used, to take their lives. Experts call it the ripple effect or copycat suicides. Every single minute, millions of people across the globe fight against depression, some even consider taking their lives, however, that doesn't mean everyone does so. But when another party commits or talks about suicide this create a major impact on their minds.
The tragic suicide of celebrity fashion designer Kate Spade followed by chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain seems to have created a ripple effect across the valley, according to experts. Kate was found dead in her apartment on June 5 and within a week the celebrity travel chef hung himself in his French hotel room near Strasbourg. Both the celebrities have been fighting with mental illness for a long time.
Noah Whitaker, Suicide Prevention Consultant for Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health, believes that whenever there is a high profile suicide, there is a risk of ripple effect. "We see these 'echo suicides' where people who were already vulnerable get exposed to the loss of somebody that they really identified with and that increases their own risk on a temporary basis," he was quoted by YourCentralValley Online.
Whitaker also emphasises on the evolving communication changes in the society as the key contributor to this effect. "How people interact with each other has changed dramatically. Even though social media connects us more than ever it also connects us on a shallow basis more than ever," he said.
Interestingly, the same week, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in Atlanta, reported a 30 percent spike in suicide rates since 1999. With suicide being a major public health issue across the nation, the new findings have revealed that nearly 45000 suicides took place in 2016. Though depression is known to be the main cause for higher suicide rate, only half of the people had a history of mental illness. The numbers have sent shockwaves across the nation.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255