Following the deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, some news outlets have publicized suicide prevention hotline numbers on their front covers, albeit after the fact. A little more incisively, The Toronto Star’s Emma Teitel wrote on Kate Spade, “what’s shocked this grieving public most is not the reality that a successful businesswoman took her own life, but that the architect of such a loud, colourful brand was deeply depressed and suffered in silence.”
Several years ago I, along with about twenty-five others took a two-day program on suicide prevention. At the door, we were greeted by the facilitator who, under the aegis of anonymity, asked each of us to mark an ‘x’ on a slip of paper if we’d ever considered or made an attempt at suicide for ourselves. In a bid to garner some awareness in the room the facilitator took a few minutes to aggregate the results posting them at first break. From the twenty-five slips of paper came just one ‘x.’ In the moments that followed my hitherto protected, and intellectual notions of ‘isolation’ became visceral, changing how I come to understand suicide nowadays.