It’s been a busy week of breaking news for the media, with the saddening news that both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain committed suicide within only a few days from one another.

Kate Spade’s Unfortunate Death

Kate Spade was known for the iconic, lively and creative brand she created in New York in 1993 with her husband. Leaving behind a loving husband and 13 year old daughter, she wrote a note before the attempted and unfortunately successful act that resulted in her death. The horrendous situation unfolded with a housekeeper finding Spade hanging from a red ribbon in her bedroom, with a note nearby addressed to her daughter stating that it was not her fault.

No one in Spade’s family saw it coming, despite the fact that she struggled with mental health, often emoted depressive and anxious thoughts. A lot of flack has come out about financial and marital issues being the source of her motivation to take her life. However, even her father who spoke to Spade the night before her passing stated that his daughter sounded happy as can be, planning a trip all the way to California to search for the best colleges for her daughter.

The attorneys at Handy Lawyer, some of whom grew up with Kate Spade as an emblem of success thanks to the chic New York flavour she brought on with every one of her accessories and handbags, believe that she did not receive proper care to help with her struggle with mental health.

Handy Lawyer Clients Struggle with Mental Health

At the law firm, we’ve seen it many times where clients have a psychological struggle yet don’t believe that seeing a psychiatrist or taking the necessary precautions to speak with loved ones about the issue, in which case it is said that Spade struggled with bipolar disorder.

Trying to get help is a great first start, but if you don’t receive it or if it isn’t effective then it is more difficult to measure whether or not you need to re-visit a clinician. While it’s obvious for someone who broke their arm as to whether or not treatment is helping them recover, mental health brings on a whole new ballgame.

One of our Handy employees, Cody Kindle, has worked on many cases where mental health brought the client to do an unfavourable act. We see it all the time in court. The argument then becomes how to demonstrate that the client was not in the right state of mind while the act occurred. This requires the analysis of both a psychiatrist and sometimes even a psychoanalyst.

Risk Factors of Suicide

There are many things individuals should look out for if they know a loved one or even a stranger who deals with mental health issues. Suicidal risk factors include historical suicides that have happened in the family or friend circle of the sufferer, along with a history of childhood abuse or trauma. Another big issue is environmental. If the sufferer has easy access to firearms, drugs and has had a history of unwavering stress then they are highly exposed to suicide. Finally, the state of one’s mental health also must be considered. If they deal with issues such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism or drug addiction, depression and severe anxiety then they are at high risk and must be taken cared for.

Behaviours to Look Out For

Those who both commit or attempt to commit suicide have demonstrated a few warning signs. First, they may mention how they’re such a burden to others and their feeling of hopelessness in their current situation. The idea of killing themselves may even prop up in their minds. Acts such as giving away important possessions to people they love, withdrawing from activities that they once adored (such as yoga for a yoga avid or hockey for the person who used to hate being off the ice) and furtively increasing the amount of alcohol and drug consumption they intake. Finally, be aware of their changes in mood. If they constantly feel depressed, anxious, humiliated, shameful, angry and irritable, these may be powerful indicators. Stay tuned for a sudden relief or improvement in their mood, this may demonstrate that they have found relief in the thought of ending their pain for good.

All the lawyers at Handy strongly believe in suicide prevention. Calling hotlines or psychologists when you’re feeling down and reaching out to close loved ones is pertinent to working against the growing spike in suicides across North America. It’s time that mental health is treated like any other illness.

Here’s a hotline number you should reach out to: (800)273-8255

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