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Public should focus on suicide prevention

When people take their own lives, the question of "why they did it" arises from the public. Such is the case in the recent suicides of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef and CNN storyteller Anthony Bourdain.

"Suicide is 'multi-determined.' There's never just one reason," Julie Geddef of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said. "We don't know why any one person would ever take their life. The public doesn't need to know. It's not important to give details about suicide. It is very harmful to people."

Rather than speculating "why they did it," the public should focus on "how to prevent it," especially in the wake of celebrity suicides, Geddef said. 

Geddef, who works as a senior prevention field representative in the Suicide Prevention Division, said she has observed an increase in the number of suicide attempts at the state level when celebrity suicides are publicized at the national level. 

"There are people that think about suicide, and they think, 'Well, they (celebrities) were brave enough to do it,'" she said. "And that's why it's so important to reach out to people all the time  on a daily basis."

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