A heartbreaking week reminds us to reach out if someone is struggling

This article is more than 2 years old
Jessica Valenti

Despite outward appearances you may never know someone’s inner pain. The best we can do is be there for each other

A memorial to Anthony Bourdain at Brasserie Les Halles. Bourdain was found dead Friday.
A memorial to Anthony Bourdain at Brasserie Les Halles. Bourdain was found dead on Friday. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
A memorial to Anthony Bourdain at Brasserie Les Halles. Bourdain was found dead on Friday. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Last modified on Wed 19 Feb 2020 12.13 EST

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This has been a sad, terrible week – one that reminds us that despite outward appearances, you really never know what kind of pain or struggles people are dealing with internally. We lost Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, two cultural iconoclasts – and lost them in the most tragic way possible.

I don’t know anyone whose lives haven’t been touched by suicide, and the problem in America is only growing – since 1999, the rate went up 25%. The best thing we can do for each other is be there, to sit with each other, and to reach out if we suspect someone is struggling. Just being present for someone does more than you’d think.

The actor and writer Rob Delaney, who has written frankly about his own suicidal episodes, tweeted yesterday that therapists refer to suicide as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. And I think that’s what we need to relay as well – that those kinds of feelings are temporary, that you can feel better. If you need help, please reach out to someone.

  • In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

Glass half full

An Iowa judge has temporarily blocked the state’s extreme anti-abortion law, ruling that it was unconstitutional. It’s not over by a long shot – anti-choice advocates want to take this one to the supreme court – but I’ll take my good news where I can get it.

What I’m RTing

Who I’m reading

Anthony Bourdain’s incredible New Yorker piece that led to his breakout book, Sady Doyle on the incel movement, and Adam Serwer on why we need to “just say it’s racist”.

What I’m watching

The “culture war” between midwives and doctors.

How outraged I am

Children are being torn from their parents’ arms and people are still worried about national treasure Samantha Bee using a bad word. On a scale of one to 10, I’m over hypocrites at a nine.

How I’m making it through this week

I’m calling all of my friends, even the ones I haven’t spoken to in a while. Think about doing the same.