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Suicide: it's all of our problem

The tragic, high-profile suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade this week have drawn a lot of attention to the all-too-common issue of suicide. Currently 45,000 Americans die each year by suicide, and many more attempt. Each suicide has a major impact on 6-12 close family and friends, as well as affecting larger circles of acquaintances.

The underlying cause of suicide (whether previously diagnosed or not) is typically depression. That's why it's so important to ask for help if you are struggling, to reach out to others to offer support if you sense they are having difficulty, and to be aware of resources:

  • Here is an article from yesterday's New York Times on how to offer help to someone in need.

  • If you need help, call the National Lifeline day or night at 1-800-273-TALK, or call 211 to be connected to a mobile crisis service near you in CT. The Crisis Text Line is another great option: text "hello" to 741741.

  • To check in on your own mental health, take a quick online screening here.

  • To find clinical or peer supports in our region or beyond, please visit our resource page.

  • To communicate with a school or other group about a suicide in your community, refer to the Safe Messaging guidelines and other resources here.

Tragically, the suicide rate has risen by ~30% in the past 20 years, as reported this week. This terrible increase reflects a need for public health efforts throughout our communities, focusing on creating a healthy culture, strengthening our families, supporting school-based health centers, developing workplace wellness, teaching coping skills, and making services available and affordable. We have to pay attention to the sharp upward trend in anxiety and depression among high school and college students.

What can we do as community members?

Support policies and budgets that emphasize wellness and prevention efforts. Check in on your friends and family. Know where to get help and make sure your kids know the resources at their school. And... take care of yourself.

Last month's suicide prevention trainings filled up, so we will be offering another training at the end of June at Norwalk Hospital, in conjunction with local partners. We'll update this blog post with the date and time when it is confirmed. To be put on a notification list, please email

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