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Recent Celeb Suicides Increase Hotline Calls by 25 Percent

June 12, 2018 - 8:43 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are way up, more than 25 percent in the past week.

Tom Duff, executive director of St. Louis Counseling, says the recent high-profile suicides of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have shown that the urge to kill oneself can strike anyone at any time.

Mental health issues and mental illness touched everybody, from children to the elderly. You can be any part of any socio-economic class or any culture and we all experience issues of mental illness,” he says.

Duff says St. Louis Counseling speaks with nearly 8000 people per year at eight office locations throughout the region. They also have a presence in schools, both public and private, to helps kids who might be dealing with suicidal thoughts.

Duff says people often say that it came as a complete surprise when someone they know kills themselves, but there are warning signs to watch out for.

“You’re looking at individuals who may become more isolated than normal. You’re looking for a change in a person’s pattern of behavior as the number one thing,” he says.

He cautions to be on the lookout for any dramatic behavioral changes in eating or sleeping patterns.

“A lot of times, stigma gets in the way. We’re afraid we’ll be judged, people will think we’re weak, people will look down on us, but the reality is you have to look at mental illness as any other health condition,” he says.

Their number is (314) 544-3800.