Every year we hear about a music superstar or TV personality who has taken their own life. Incredibly talented young musicians such as Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse are usually the most well-known cases of celebrity suicide, along with actors like Corey Monteith and Robin Williams. More recently, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington was found dead in an apparent suicide, leaving us to wonder once again why so many famous people feel the need to die.
Millions are often shocked that these rich and famous individuals, who seemingly have a perfect life, commit suicide. They often have beautiful families and live in luxury, so to the outside eye, it is difficult to understand what could drive them to do something so extreme. Yet mental health has no partiality – depression is an illness which can take hold of anyone, even megastars.
Facts about suicide
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. That’s right – it’s not cancer, road accidents, heart attack or any other physical health condition. Feeling suicidal is much more common than people realise, and it’s more likely to affect men than women. People who kill themselves feel like they have no other option.
Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can lead to suicide, yet it’s not apparent in all cases or it could be undiagnosed before a suicide death. Mental illness is a worldwide epidemic, and the stigma surrounding it often prevents people from getting the help they need at the right time. With one death by suicide happening every 40 seconds across the world, it’s vital to start opening up the conversation about mental health and suicide.
Why would a privileged or famous person commit suicide?
Suicide notes can often give clues as to why somebody felt the need to kill themselves, but of course, by then it’s too late. In the digital age, youngsters are even live streaming their suicides which is a horrific progression. Psychologists have been studying the reasons behind suicide for centuries, and an article in the Scientific American shines a light on why certain people (such as those living life in the limelight) may be prone to suicidal behaviour.
Jesse Bering writing in the journal highlights the strange results when comparing suicide rates: suicides are higher in nations with higher standards of living, in areas with better weather and higher among college students with better grades. It seems that people who have led mostly privileged lives are at risk of suicide because they find it more difficult to deal with failures. Those who have such high expectations and ideals for their lives can find it hard to deal with a reality that doesn’t match up.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are worried about a friend or relative, get help from any of these support groups.