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Student Life

What Kate Spade's and the United States' 123 Daily Suicides Have In Common

Mental illness does not discriminate

What Kate Spade's and the United States' 123 Daily Suicides Have In Common

Kate Spade was a fashion designer who made her mark beginning in 1993, as she launched her line of famously vibrant handbags. As we know today, her name and brand expanded into other accessories and clothing, and the motto "Live Colorfully" echoed throughout the fashion industry. Spade was found dead in her apartment on Tuesday, June 5, 2018; her death was ruled a suicide.

Madison Holleran was a UPenn track star, Breslin Wiley was an aspiring engineer and a member of the Elon Club baseball team, Tyler Clementi was a violinist, Scott Graham was a police officer. All of them took their own lives at some point over the past eight years, succumbing to the pressures their lives presented to them. They are not the only ones either; in fact, they are only four of the far too many who have taken measures to end the precious gift of life they have been granted. 123 individuals commit suicide per day. That is 123 human beings who felt that their life was not worth seeing another day; 123 people who felt that tomorrow was too difficult to bear.

Because she was seen in the limelight, the responses to Kate Spade's story may follow the path of, "she had it all;" however, those who knew Madison, Breslin, Tyler, Scott, and the 44,965 individuals who take their lives each year may also begin their phrases of disbelief with the very same wording. To their peers, their lives could have seemingly been filled with happiness and love and opportunity. To the outside world, their facades screamed, "I am great!" when their mind was really crying, "I need help," as it attempted to combat the overwhelming thoughts that rapidly swam through its currents of cognition.

Right now, I want you to envision all of these individuals on the same playing field. I want you to consider every human being you encounter on the same level, including yourself. Do we not all face pressures and stress each and every day? Are we not all, in some sense, plagued by society's expectations to grace this earth with a mask, sometimes pretending all is well when it is in those moments that we need a hug, or a good cry, or a break the most? The simple truth is that no matter our societal status, we each face our own battles, and time and time again, we never truly know what path another human being is walking. In these moments of uncertainty, it should be known that it is okay to not feel okay.

If anything, is this not another indication that mental illness does not discriminate? That people from all walks of life can be taunted by the thoughts in their heads? Celebrities and common folk alike, we all can be engulfed by our dark stream of consciousness. As these devastating death announcements continue to unfold, it exemplifies that our world still needs to communicate the notion that asking for help is indeed okay. These stories serve as every indication that there should be no shame in asking for a guiding hand, someone or something that can assist you in seeing tomorrow. And the next day. And the multitude of days after that.

For every dark cloud that casts its shadow upon us, there is a new moment beaming with light that we are bound to encounter. There are a whole slew of opportunities to be seized, an entire population of human beings that are willing to stand by your side, and a bundle of hurdles trailing behind us that we have already overcome. There is beauty in this slow, sometimes unsteady, process. For we must remember that both the mountains and valleys shape our character, and when we find ourselves wallowing in our valleys, we must know that we do not have to stay there forever.

Life is a precious gift; we are granted just one. Please do not assume that no one is in your corner. For every worrisome thought that races through your mind, there is a warm embrace, words of affirmation, a shoulder to cry on, and a human to speak to. There are hotlines and online portals that allow you to express your deepest worries in complete anonymity. There are trained professionals: psychologists, counselors, social workers, psychiatrists, who are ready to walk this journey with you and help you find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Because even though mental illness does not discriminate, that does not mean we cannot emerge from the ashes as a great force, stronger, happier, and healthier than before. Life does not have to end today. Life should not end today. There are too many tomorrows waiting for us, far too many moments to seize, people to meet, and things to discover. Please always remember that.

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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