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Local mental health organizations offer support following news of celebrity suicides

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — After the recent deaths of famous fashion designer, Kate Spade, and celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain, local mental health organizations are reminding the community about the help it offers.

If you or anyone you know needs help, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK or text "talk" to 741-741.

Heidi Mikeska, the Community Systems Coordinator from the Broome County Suicide Awareness for Families and Educators (BC SAFE), said often when celebrities commit suicide, "copy cat" suicide is a trend that sometimes follows it.

"They’re like contagions, so some people see that and consider that it may help solve their problems," said Mikeska. "But it doesn’t."

Mikeska said there are signs to watch out for to know if someone is suicidal. She suggests watching out for dramatic changes in behavior like agitation, anger, or getting involved with drugs.

Mikeska also said a drastic change in appearance, from a person’s hairstyle to their clothing, can also be a sign.

Though it is a sensitive topic and it may seem difficult to approach someone about, Mikeska said speaking up is the best thing you can do to help.

"I encourage people to be open and direct and ask someone, ‘are you considering killing yourself, is this related to suicide?’" said Mikeska. "Then you can get them to the correct resources they need."

Mikeska said if someone isn’t willing to talk, you can still offer resources such as giving them the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. 

She also advised parents to keep a close eye on their children’s technology and what they are accessing through that technology.

"Where there’s help, there’s hope," said Mikeska. "And there’s always an opportunity to find help."

If you want to contact a local number, there are peers who help with the Mental Association of the Southern Tier. You can reach them at (607) 240-7291.

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