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'We're So Extremely Busy': Suicide Hotlines Are Deluged

Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain deaths result in surge of calls
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2018 9:34 AM CDT
Suicide Hotline Calls Spike 25% After Spade, Bourdain Deaths
This combination of 2004 and 2016 file photos shows fashion designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain in New York.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, Andy Kropa/Invision)

(Newser) – Calls to suicide hotlines have spiked dramatically since the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain—not an unusual phenomenon in the wake of celebrity suicides. The Wall Street Journal reports on a 25% uptick at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) since Spade's death, while USA Today attributed a similar rise to both celebs, and a New Jersey hotline experienced a 70% increase in calls Friday morning. "We're so extremely busy," says Rachel Larkin, who heads a crisis-prevention center in Maryland. "I think we’re all worried. ... Both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are people a lot of people related to."

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Celebrity suicides have been linked to suicide increases before. Marilyn Monroe's 1962 death, for example, preceded a 12% spike in suicides nationwide, the Wrap reports. "When people who have suicidal thoughts see seemingly happy, famous and wealthy people dying of suicide, it makes them feel more hopeless," says Lauren Foster, who heads a hotline in Raleigh, North Carolina. "They think if they died, what’s to stop me?" But suicide-prevention advocates are emphasizing that hotlines do help and people's calls will go through, despite the surge this week. Check out Buzzfeed to learn what happens on hotline calls and see what resources are available. (Read more suicide stories.)

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