Kate Spade’s Tragic Passing

Fashion icon, Kate Spade, passed away June 5, 2018. Her apparent suicide has sparked a national conversation about mental health, possibly because what we saw on the outside didn’t embody the idea of what society deems the typical person who commits suicide. She was a trailblazer in the fashion industry, having the drive and passion to quit a highly sought after job as a fashion editor to build an empire selling her iconic handbags.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Her husband and business partner, Andy Spade, released a statement regarding her passing.

"Kate was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was the kindest person I’ve ever known and my best friend for 35 years. My daughter and I are devastated by her loss, and can’t even begin to fathom life without her. We are deeply heartbroken and miss her already.

Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives. We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn’t her. There were personal demons she was battling.

For the past 10 months we had been living separately, but within a few blocks of each other. Bea was living with both of us and we saw each other or spoke every day. We ate many meals together as a family and continued to vacation together as a family. Our daughter was our priority. We were not legally separated, and never even discussed divorce. We were best friends trying to work through our problems in the best way we knew how. We were together for 35 years. We loved each other very much and simply needed a break.

This is the truth. Anything else that is out there right now is false. She was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety over the last 5 years, seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety. There was no substance or alcohol abuse. There were no business problems. We loved creating our businesses together. We were co-parenting our beautiful daughter. I have yet to see any note left behind and am appalled that a private message to my daughter has been so heartlessly shared with the media.

My main concern is Bea and protecting her privacy as she deals with the unimaginable grief of losing her mother. Kate loved Bea so very much."

It goes to show that mental illness doesn’t care what you look like, how much success you achieve, or how much money you acquire; it’s an insidious illness that can affect anyone. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and there are usually warning signs like talk of feeling hopeless, isolation from friends and family, and loss of interest. If you see any signs of suicide, ask your loved one if they feel depressed or thought about suicide. Don't be afraid to have the conversation. It may be a conversation that saves a life. 

If you or a person you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)