Following the shocking suicide of his sister-in-law, famed fashion designer Kate Spade, stand-up and film comedian David Spade was strangely silent. One of his few public comments on the matter of her passing was a brief message on Instagram, recalling the time they had spent together and her persistent sense of humor.
Now, as PageSix reports, the veteran comedian has offered to donate $100,000 in support of mental health awareness and initiatives, offering the funds to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. David Spade made the announcement last night with the statement being made to People.
“More people suffer from mental health issues than we may realize but no one should ever feel ashamed to reach out for support,” Spade is quoted as saying.
“If you or anyone you know is in need of help or guidance please contact the national suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255 or go to nami.org to learn more and help those who may be in need,” he added.
Kate’s husband – and David’s older brother – Andy Spade revealed to People the day after the tragedy that his wife had been undergoing treatment for depression and anxiety and had been wrestling with these intrusive thoughts and emotions for years. While Andy and Kate Spade were on a marital hiatus – though Andy reiterates that they were not separated and had no intention of divorcing, simply that the pair needed a break – there was no lack of love between them both and for their 13-year-old daughter, Francis Beatrix, whom they co-parented.
“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,” Andy said. “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.”
David Spade’s donation is a show of support for a stigmatized set of illnesses, often invisible and often battled in private. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately one in five American adults suffers an instance, or instances, of mental illness in any given year. Of those individuals facing substance abuse or addictions problems, that number skyrockets to over 50 percent. There is no evidence that Kate Spade was one of the latter, but there are many who will benefit from David Spade’s generous donation and those who follow in his footsteps and follow suit.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States that focuses on a lifelong commitment to those struggling with mental and emotional challenges in the hopes of building a better life. The national suicide prevention hotline is a vital service for those suffering grave distress or suicidal ideation. Suicide remains a massive issue in the nation, with CNN reporting that from the years 1996 to 2016 the suicide rate had increased by 25 percent.
The world was rocked by the news of the iconic fashion designer’s suicide, with an outpouring of grief on social media outlets Facebook and Twitter as fashionistas, fans, friends, and family blended their words of sympathy and called out in unison for more support to be added for people suffering with depression, anxiety, and other mental and emotional struggles.
Having lost two beloved public figures so proximate in time to one another in Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, it is time for members of our society to pause, reflect, and finally act in support of fighting for increased mental health support and for a destigmatization of what is one of the world’s most common and most tragic ailments. Public shows of support, social media statements, charitable donations, volunteerism, and simply being a shoulder to lean on (or an invested listener for those who might need it) in our own lives can make a difference – great or small.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.