High profile celebrity deaths from suicide are unusual, but sadly, they are not unheard of. When one of the world’s best-loved funnymen Robin Williams took his own life in the summer of 2014, it opened up a conversation about the reality of what can be hidden by a smile.
This was furthered last year by the deaths of musicians Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington – two men who seemingly had everything to live for. Showing that, while attitudes towards mental health are improving, more needs to be done to encourage people to get the help they need.
One-in-four people will suffer from a mental health condition in at some point, but unfortunately, accessing help is easier said than done, and there is still a lot of stigma surrounding conditions like depression – especially when it involves a person who is outwardly doing well.
This week, the world was shocked again by the untimely deaths of designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain, prompting both celebrities and average Joes alike to encourage people to reach out to anyone they suspect might be suffering in silence.
Mental illness, like any other health condition, can take a myriad of forms, and when a person with depression is seemingly doing well, they are described as having concealed depression – named because of the actions they take to hide how they are really feeling.
However, there are still some tell-tale signs of a person suffering from concealed depression, and in Bourdain’s case, this was reflected by the cryptic name of a painting he purchased last week, which tragically reflected the 61-year-old’s battle with his inner demons.
The sad news of Bourdain’s death was broke on Friday morning by CNN. The network announced that he was found dead in his hotel room in France by his close friend Eric Ripert. He had been filming the TV show, Parts Unknown, and his cause of death was suicide by hanging.
To see CNN’s report on Bourdain’s death, check out the video below:
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the network said in a statement. “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller.”
Now, news has emerged that Bourdain purchased a piece of artwork by John Lurie entitled, “The sky is falling, I am learning to live with it.”
Needless to say, it’s easy to see why such a bleak piece of art would resonate with someone in a dark place. Common symptoms of depression include constant feelings of hopelessness and no longer enjoying activities that once brought a person happiness.
Bourdain and Lurie, however, had more than just a business relationship and after learning of the 61-year-old’s passing, the artist posted a series of heartbreaking tweets about the chef’s personality and their growing friendship.
Lurie began his heartbreaking tribute to Bourdain by writing, “I can’t believe this.”
The 65-year-old artist then explained that the pair were even going to meet up this week and that Bourdain was the first person Lurie had met in a long time who he was interested in establishing a friendship with.
Unfortunately, while a person’s pain might be ended by suicide, it is inevitably passed onto their loved ones, and Lurie added that he was furious with Bourdain for not reaching out for help in battling his demons.
Concluding his tweets, Lurie wrote that even though Bourdain was one of the most successful chefs in the world, he remained an incredibly down-to-Earth person who was “a truly decent man”.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish Bourdain’s family and friends our sincere condolences during this extremely difficult time.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please know that there is help available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free and confidential support 24/7 for anyone struggling in the United States, and they can be contacted on 1-800-273-8255. Alternatively, you are based in the UK, you can reach out to the Samaritans on 116 123.