Tags: Hollywood | celebrities | suicide | stan kirsch | robin williams | mental health

Suicide Epidemic Rocks Hollywood

the hollywood sign
(Maarten Janssen/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 17 January 2020 11:23 AM

A spate of suicides has left Hollywood reeling in shock.

On Wednesday, news emerged that "Friends" actor Stan Kirsch died from an apparent suicide after he allegedly hanged himself in the bathroom of his home in Los Angeles.

Kirsch joins an ever-growing list of celebrities who have taken their own lives in recent years, including comedian Robin Williams, Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, Chris Cornell from Soundgarden, and "Ugly Betty" creator Silvio Horta.

Suicide rates are rising at an alarming rate. In just 10 years, the number of people who took their own lives in America increased by 33%, CNN reported.

This is the highest it has been since World War II.

The situation in Hollywood is dire. The pressure to perform, coupled with the proliferation of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, is an overwhelming and toxic concoction that could affect up-and-coming stars as well as established celebrities, UTA board member Tracey Jacobs told The Hollywood Reporter.

L.A.-based psychotherapist Ira Israel agreed that stressors like anxiety and depression are prevalent in showbusiness because the stakes are so high and the industry "attracts highly competitive people who believe they are playing a zero-sum game."

Israel explained that "the power games and exploitation in Hollywood foment countless afflictions and addictions."

Worse is that media coverage of celebrity suicides appears to be linked to an increase in attempted suicides among the general public.

Liz Eddy, communications director for the Crisis Text Line, noted a 116% increase in suicide rates the weekend after Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain's deaths, according to LA Weekly.

Studies have shown that headlines and content about suicide can indeed lead to an uptick in suicide rates.

"This is a proven source of risk for those who might be in a suicide crisis because it provides information about a lethal method of killing oneself," said Dan Romer, the Annenberg Public Policy Center research director.

"Some thought that Spade learned her [suicide] method from the coverage of [comedian] Robin Williams' death, which also featured this method."

Celebrities are addressing the situation by speaking out about mental health and sharing their own stories in an attempt to spread awareness.

Last year, Justin Bieber admitted he was receiving treatment for depression while Demi Lovato, who was diagnosed as bipolar in 2011, has become an advocate for mental health awareness.

"I think that it's important that I use my voice for more than just singing and I just know how important it is to use my platform to help others and to share my story in hopes it inspires people to either get into recovery or better themselves," Lovato previously said in an interview with "Good Morning America."

Fighting the stigma of mental health is the first step to addressing the issue, according to the pop star.

"I have bipolar disorder and I'm very open about that because I think that mental health affects so many people and we need to take the stigma away from it," she said.

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A spate of suicides has left Hollywood reeling in shock. On Wednesday, news emerged that "Friends" actor Stan Kirsch died from an apparent suicide after he allegedly hanged himself in the bathroom of his home in Los Angeles.
celebrities, suicide, stan kirsch, robin williams, mental health
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2020-23-17
Friday, 17 January 2020 11:23 AM
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