Therapists share insights into what leads someone to suicide

Major depression changes neurological functioning.

Hadas Kuznits
June 08, 2018 - 1:38 pm
Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain

Rose Hartman/Globe Photos/Sipa USA via USA TODAY NETWORK; Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Two high-profile suicides taking place just days apart might raise questions about what prompts someone to take her or his own life.

Licensed professional counselor Gayle Logan says suicide stems from depression. But what is depression? It's more than just a deep sadness.

"When a person has major depression, then there's a change in the entire system," Logan said. "The neurological functioning changes, and of course the changes within the system also affects their judgment."

Therapist Shadeen Francis with Council for Relationships says if there's one thing that we can learn from this week's suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade is that mental illness doesn't discriminate.

"We expect that because people have things like financial priviledge or social capital that that's supposed to protect them from mental health crisis, and it doesn't," Francis said.

Another aspect Francis urges us to consider is how we speak about those who have taken their lives. She said that when we judge those who have taken their lives, it shows that we don't understand suicide. 

"We talk about things like selfishness, and we'll say things like, 'Well, they shouldn't have felt that way,' or 'If they had just ...,' and a lot of that misses the point," Francis said. "I hope that as folks are navigating their suprise, that they can also make room for empathy."