Suicides in the news PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 June 2018 13:48

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

I  had been watching “Thirteen Reasons Why” on Netflix  and had seen several episodes. My interest in the series was prompted by the plot, which dealt with the suicide of a high school girl as a result of her alienation from the prevailing behavioral norms of her school. Although long retired from work I was still aware that my formal training as a counselor was still relevant and could be useful to the community if called on for certain situations. I thought I would learn something from the series.

Because of the Netflix series my mind was thus engaged in the topic of suicide as it happened in the character of Hannah Baker. Then in the week of June 4 American media reported the  suicides of two American celebrities – Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

I came across the name of Spade for the first time in the reports of her suicide. It turns out that she was a well known designer and  ran a very profitable business  of designer clothes, bags and shoes.  It was thus a puzzle to me why someone as accomplished as she was decided to end her own life.

I was a bit more familiar with the name of Bourdain. I had read articles by him and articles about him. He was a well- known personality as a chef and as a travel writer and I would easily recognize him in a photo even if it did not have a caption. Having seen on TV the news bar about his death I quickly went to my computer to find out more about the reported death.

The Internet had a lot to report about him. I found one photo particularly charming. It showed Bourdain and President Barack Obama in a “no-star” restaurant, seated on plastic stools, drinking beer from the bottle and eating Vietnamese noodles. I was greatly impressed. Bourdain must have been someone Obama trusted highly that he would consent to eat at what we would call a “carinderia”. And Obama must be a very self-confident  person not to have his sense of self challenged by consenting to eat in the “carinderia”.  I could not help  wondering if our own “honorables” would have allowed themselves   a similar experience.

We  also come across reports of suicides in our own Philippine media. The difference I have observed is that these reported suicides are usually over despondency over unrequited love or depression over extreme poverty or failures at significant aspirations.

But the suicides of Spade and Bourdain could not have been over similar causes. It appears that these were people at the top of their careers and were the envy of many.

What can we take away from these incidents?  One, is that we never know enough of a person to realize what  they are going through. Because of this  we deal with each one in our life with as much care and kindness we can muster.