Why do people who “have it all” kill themselves?
DATE 18-06-09 10:25
글쓴이 : 어드민      
By Alex Kim | News Korea

Kate Spade was a revered fashion designer and a successful businesswoman who showed the world that a salesperson at a department store can create a multimillion-dollar fashion empire.


Anthony Bourdain, a celebrity chef, a television personality, a bestselling author, traveled across the globe exploring food, culture, and human conditions.


Both Spade and Bourdain seemingly lived a life what many people consider a “dream life”, yet they took their own lives in the same week.


What could be the reason(s) behind suicides by people who seemingly “have it all”?


The answer a great number of mental health professionals agree on is that fame and wealth do not provide immunity against suicidal ideations. Some experts believe fame and wealth could actually open up to a greater risk to suicide.


A renowned expert on suicide, Professor Rory O’Connor, pinpoints one of the main causes of suicide amongst successful individuals to “social perfectionism”.


According to O’Connor, social perfectionists often set extremely high expectations for themselves and put themselves under immense pressure. “These standards can be often completely unrealistic and unsustainable,” said O’Connor, “but not only do the social perfectionists put themselves under pressure to achieve these standards, they also think their family and friends expect that achievement of them.”


O’Connor explained that social perfectionists operate under the pressure which they have to present the best version of themselves at all times, and at all costs. “They feel they must maintain the same standards of living and the same levels of success,” said O’Connor, “whether it is in the workplace or other parts of life, social perfectionists base their self-esteem on these achievements.” O’Connor added that if a social perfectionist believes that they failed to meet their own expectations, their sense of failure persists over time and evolves into an unbearable pain. “Then, the most catastrophic way of dealing with it is suicide.”


Whether the effect of “social perfectionism” played a role in the recent celebrity deaths is unclear. According to CDC, 54% of suicide victims had no recorded mental illnesses, but discussions about suicides are often limited to victims’ mental health issues.


There is no single cause for suicide. Suicide is a complex problem and its multifaceted cause makes it difficult to identify potential victims.


According to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicidal ideations are often the byproduct of stressor(s) and health issues, which “creates an experience of hopelessness and despair.”


AFSP indicates a painful event or a loss followed by a sudden, major change of behavior as the most apparent warning sign for suicide. A person may not, however, change their behavior and still have suicidal thoughts. “Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs,” says AFSP, “either through what they say or what they do.”


Risk factors and warning signs of suicide can be found on AFSP website.


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