Mental health experts hope recent celebrity deaths raise suicide prevention awareness

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Data shows that high-profile suicides lead to a rise in copycat deaths. (KFSN)

The shocking deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain this week highlights the importance of recognizing the potential warning signs when someone intends to end their life.

Data shows that high-profile suicides lead to a rise in copycat deaths.

"Robin William's death in 2014 we saw a 10 percent increase over the subsequent month and in total for the remainder of the year," said West Care Medical Director Dr. Herbert Cruz.

Dr. Cruz says suicide prevention is all about getting people the right information before it is too late.

"As a psychiatrist I would say 90 percent of the patients I see or come in contact with are suicidal or have had suicidal thoughts at one point or another," said Dr. Cruz.

Experts worry that following celebrity suicide deaths, at risk individuals may use these examples to carry out their own intentions

"These are people that we look up to and when we hear they've taken their lives it kind of demystifies that to some extent. And tells people that might be at risk that perhaps this is a viable option for them," said Dr. Cruz.

If there is a teachable moment that can come out of tragedies like this week's celebrity deaths it is how to educate the public about prevention.

"Talk to a mental help professional or if they're already involved in a mental health professional get involved in the treatment of that individual. Because it's not just the individual's problem because they have had the thought it's a family and a social context," said Dr. Cruz.
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