Murders get the headlines in the news but only when a celebrity dies by suicide does suicide steal headlines. Soundgarden and Audioslave singer, Chris Cornell’s recent death by suicide brings this issue to the front page once again.
To be fair, suicide is generally not widely publicized due to concerns about copycats. But did you know that more people die by suicide each year than are murdered? In 2013, about 16,000 people died as a result of homicide in the U.S. whereas about 40,000 people died by suicide according to the Center for Disease Control statistics. Furthermore, homicide rates have seen a decline in the past few years (President Obama even bragged about it) while the suicide rate has continued to increase. This is a troubling trend.
This brought to mind many recent celebrity deaths and some legendary ones. In most of these cases, they suffered from depression or some other mental illness. It has been reported that Chris Cornell suffered from anxiety and took medication to deal with it accordingly*. (*Chris Cornell’s circumstances leading up to his death are still being investigated.) This is a sobering list of people in the public eye who we’ve lost to suicide.
Robin Williams – Actor/Comedian
Kurt Cobain – Lead singer of Nirvana
Mindy McCready – Country singer
Junior Seau – NFL player
Alexander McQueen – Fashion designer
Tony Scott – Film director
L’Wren Scott – Fashion designer
There are many more not listed but hopefully this illustrates the tragedy of it all. Here’s what we can learn from these suicides.
- Fame does not solve your mental health issues.
- Money does not solve your mental health issues.
- Success does not solve your mental health issues.
There’s the saying that “It’s lonely at the top.” For many celebrities, that’s certainly true. Scrutiny in the spotlight can put immense stress on a person’s mental well-being. Suicide does not discriminate. It affects all races, ages, classes and levels of fame. You don’t have to be a celebrity to experience the same insecurities, stress and negative feelings that many of these celebrities felt. If you feel hopeless or know someone who may be at risk for suicide, reach out for help. Our resource page has some great places to start.