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Celebrity deaths renew suicide prevention discussion

Two celebrity suicides in three days is sparking renewed discussion about mental health, depression and prevention. Here are some resources on approaching a suicide discussion with someone you're concerned about.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) The deaths of TV host and chef Anthony Bourdain on Friday and designer Kate Spade on Tuesday made headlines this week, not just because of their celebrity status, but how they died. Both, according to published reports, committed suicide.

"The key piece is they both died alone and that speaks volumes to what may be happening internally," University of Louisville clinical psychologist Dr. Stephen O'Connor said.

Kentuckiana has not been immune to suicide. Last fall, a student tried to commit suicide inside a bathroom in North Oldham High School. Near the end of the year, state Representative Dan Johnson committed suicide following allegations revealed in a negative investigative report.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicides increased 30 percent over 20 years in 25 states.

Prevention, doctors said, is rooted in personal connections and conversation regardless of whether it's someone you know or it's you.

"The stigma about experiencing suicidal thoughts, that's often a barrier for folks to express that especially with men or people that are higher profile that perceive that their brand or their business would suffer," O'Connor said.

One of the best ways to break that barrier is to have a discussion despite its awkward nature.

"People are sometimes concerned that if they ask people if they are suicidal it is going to give them the idea. If somebody is suicidal they are have already been thinking about it. Asking somebody is not going to put the idea in their head," Norton Healthcare Behavioral Health Nurse Farrah Thornsberry said.

"There are really not a lot of ways you can screw that up unless you shame someone," O'Connor added.



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