In our culture, we are mostly silent about suicide. But when celebrities die by suicide – as Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain did last week, the issue becomes front-page news. Anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide can attest to its utter devastation. This devastation becomes widespread when famous people die, as evidenced by the waves of social media posts and tributes to Spade and Bourdain. We try to make sense of celebrity suicides and we turn to the media for details. Robin Williams’ death in 2014 was widely publicized, and when Marilyn Monroe died in 1962, her death was glamorized in the media, including details of the method. The deaths of these two famous people led to an increase in suicides. That’s because sensational reporting can create “contagion,” where the suicide becomes the tipping point for people who are already at-risk.
There is a complex two-way relationship between mental health and substance use and poverty and CMHA BC is taking action to advocate for solutions that address poverty and its related health impacts. Economic security is a key determinant of mental health and well-being and an adequate standard of living is a critical necessity to support the recovery of a person experiencing mental health or substance use-related illness.
In this submission to BC’s poverty reduction consultation, CMHA BC makes 25 recommendations to support the dignity and security of people with mental health or substance use-related problems and those living in poverty.