The recent deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain “reflect a growing national crisis,” according to the American Psychological Association (APA) – and one that needs to be addressed with a multifaceted approach.

45K in one year

APA President Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD cited CDC data showing that the suicide rate increased by 25 percent across the U.S. from 1999 to 2016. In 2016 alone, 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide. 

“Suicide needs to be a public health priority,” said Henderson. “We need to increase access to mental health screenings and ensure that insurance covers both prevention services and treatment. We need more funding for evidence-based treatment and its dissemination, including crisis services. We need more research and to ensure a focus on risk assessment, evidence-based prevention programs, and treatment to reduce the incidence of suicide.

"An act of desperation"

“The science and practice of psychology play an essential role in both understanding and addressing the biopsychosocial underpinnings of this issue. This crisis affects people both with and without diagnosed mental health conditions. Suicide is often an act of desperation, brought on by an inability to cope with life’s stressors. Addressing the source of those stressors is vital.”

One resource – for those who are struggling – is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or text "TALK" to 741741.

More resources are available on the APA's website, including: