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Like everyone around the globe, I was incredibly saddened by the news that famed designer Kate Spade committed suicide on June 5, leaving a 13-year-old daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade, in her wake. Unbelievably, just three days later, one of the celebs I most looked up to in the world—chef, author, traveler and TV personality Anthony Bourdain—also ended his life, leaving behind his 11-year-old daughter, Ariane Bourdain.
While my sadness (and the collective sadness of their fans worldwide) is one thing, the reality of being a child who will never again see their parent is another. For Frances, Ariane and every child who has ever lost their mother or father to suicide, my heart—and this essay—goes out to you.
Sadly, suicide is a growing problem in our country. Since 1999, suicides in the U.S. have increased nearly 30 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2016, approximately 45,000 people died by suicide in the U.S. and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 800,000 people worldwide die by suicide annually. If you’re counting, that’s one self-inflicted death every 40 seconds.
That means, in the span of three days between Kate and Anthony’s deaths, approximately 6,478 other people around the world also committed suicide. In the United States alone, suicide leaves an estimated 7,000 to 12,000 children without a parent, a number that’s as shockingly high as it is heartbreaking.
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