The only time anyone ever talks about suicides are after they happen, but what if we changed that? In the past week, two very wealthy, very well-known people took their lives for an unnecessary reason. This helps to get the world thinking; what if we treated mental illness like the actual illness it is? We know about celebrities getting cancer, lupus, parkinson’s, and other diseases, but very rarely do we hear about anyone having depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness. The main question is “why?”. If you were to find out that mental illness was the leading cause of death other than unintentional injury in 10-34 year olds, would this frighten you as much as cancer rates? If you were to find out that it is the fourth leading cause of death in 35-54 year olds, would this change your mind on mental illness? The incomprehensible increase of deaths by suicide is a travesty. Depression is an illness just like cancer or crohn’s disease, but it is not talked about in that way. Everyone keeps it a secret for fear of being judged. We need to break the stigma. Mental illness does not care about the color of your skin, your age, how much money you have, your location, or your job. Kate Spade was a very wealthy fashion designer who decided to take her life because of the invisible demons she was battling. Anthony Bourdain, a wealthy world traveler, was on set in Paris when he decided to take his life. Why does it take people in the public eye taking their lives for us to start a conversation about mental health, only for it to be extinguished again in the weeks following their passing. It should be an ongoing open conversation. Mental illness could affect your mother, your father, your neighbor, your child, your grandparents, your siblings, or any of the hundreds of people you pass by every day. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of and you have the right to seek help and treatment just the same as someone with cancer or any other disease. If you are depressed, please know there are many resources out there for you. If you are contemplating suicide, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Reach out to a local therapist and know you will not be judged. If you know of anyone who is battling depression, talk about it. Help them get the treatment they need. With people taking a stand, we can finally break the stigma of mental health and change the world. Please know if you are in the birmingham area that our therapists at Birmingham Anxiety and Trauma Therapy are here to help you with any of your mental health needs. Give us a call at 205-807-5372 to schedule an appointment today.