Ask the Question. Ask the Direct Question.

(Trigger warning: this post discusses suicide. If you need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800)273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line in the U.S. at 741741)

Image result for images of anthony bourdain

This morning I woke up to the tragic news about chef and travel host, Anthony Bourdain. Death by suicide.

Heartbreaking. And after the shock earlier this week, the suicide death of designer Kate Spade.

My husband and I love to watch Anthony Bourdain’s show on CNN, “Parts Unknown.” He was an amazing storyteller. He traveled to both popular and remote places around the world to get his stories. My favorite episodes were when he visited unknown villages, and I learned about another culture’s cuisine and way of life.

In his interesting, somewhat quirky, and cool way, Anthony would sit with locals and have in-depth conversations over a meal. People opened up to him. He had a special way of delving in to find out how they lived. His show wasn’t just about food. It was about family and life. He seemed full of life, with a yearning to learn more.

But he must’ve been battling demons so strong that he was in total despair.

On the Today show this morning, they interviewed a psychologist, and one of the anchors asked him what people should do if they think their loved one is struggling. Theย  psychologist stressed how important it is to talk about it, to ask the question.

The interview resonated with me. What the psychologist said is exactly what I tell high school students when I present NAMI’s (National Alliance on Mental Illness) in-school mental health awareness program, “Ending the Silence.”

If you notice the warning signs of suicide in yourself or a friend, or your gut instinct tells you that something isn’t right, something may not be right. Take immediate action. Ask the question. Ask the direct question: Are you thinking of suicide? Are you suicidal?

This may sound too direct and uncomfortable, but the other person might feel relieved that someone else said those words, that someone else opened the conversation. It may be a little easier to talk about it and admit they need help.

Skilled Sailor

Know the Warning Signs (From

Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the Lifeline (800)273-8255

Warning Signs of Suicide:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

Please reach out for help. There is no shame in having a mental illness.

There is hope.

You are NOT alone.

First image courtesy of here

30 thoughts on “Ask the Question. Ask the Direct Question.

  1. Reblogged this on Lucky Otters Haven and commented:
    I was heartbroken to hear of the suicide death of Anthony Bourdain. He always seemed so happy and had a life anyone would envy.
    But depression and suicide doesn’t discriminate and can affect even those who seem to have great lives. We just don’t know what sort of inner demons Bourdain struggled with.

    If you struggle with depression or have suicidal thoughts or ideation, please reach out and talk to someone you trust. Don’t keep your depression a secret — it’s a medical illness, not something to be ashamed of.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Last year was a terrible year for us as a family.
    My teenage son found his best friend who had hung himself. Thankfully the boy survived but was hospitalised for a long time.
    The toll on my son was heartbreaking. I think it will forever affect him.
    The other boy has moved on… like nothing happened. My son went into deep depression. Suffered from PTSD and self harmed. It took him a long time to open up and talk about things, thankfully he did and I only hope that he continues to.
    It is the single hardest thing I think to have to deal with. You feel so lost, you desperately love and will do anything to help… but you can never be certain that they will be OK.
    The need for getting help and the willingness to try and tackle the depths of depression
    must be so hard to overcome that the sheer helplessness must just take over…
    I don’t know… it saddens me so…
    So many pointless passings… so many broken pieces to pick up.
    Lets hope that we can succeed in getting our children to understand that WE ARE HERE, they just have to TALK to us… If not to us, there IS someone out there who WILL listen and help. Just ask.
    Off to reblog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing. I’m terribly sad for your son and his friend. It’s heartbreaking. I can’t imagine how hard it’s been for you to watch your son go through that. I’m so sorry. I can tell you’re a wonderful, supportive mother. Encouraging your son to talk about his struggles is crucial. You’re right, our children need to know that we are here to listen and help, and if not us, there is help available. The important thing is that there IS help. And they aren’t alone. Thank you again for your thoughtful comment and also for the reblog! Take care, Jenny xox

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Reblog | CeeJayKayFit

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  5. Powerful and important post … yes be direct, I always ask ‘have you got a plan’? As that indicates how close they are to actually doing it

    … we can listen, talk and support as they are important but professional help at this stage is even more important please don’t underestimate it!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is such a sensitive topic many of us want to skirt around because it’s uncomfortable, but it’s a very real and fatal topic. I lost my dad to suicide as a teenager. It has a lasting impact on their friends and loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry about your dad. It’s hard for me to imagine how difficult that was and still must be. I’m sure the impact will never go away. Thank you for your comment and insight. Take care, Jenny


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