The First Person I Thought of When I Heard of Anthony Bourdain's Suicide


The first person I thought of when I heard today’s news about Anthony Bourdain was Jody Betty. I thought of Jody after Kate Spade’s death earlier this week, too. I want everyone to think of Jody right now.

Almost two years ago, Jody wrote a deeply personal letter on The Mighty to anyone feeling suicidal. She lives with borderline personality disorder and wrote openly about falling “into the darkness.” It’s called “I Want You to Want to Live.” It is empathetic, non-judgmental and heartfelt. It is what people in that moment need to hear.

Nearly half a million people have read Jody’s story. Every day, a thousand people find it by going onto Google and typing phrases like, “I want to die.” Think about where those people are in that moment. 

Jody’s words resonate. The conversations that follow her story show the impact she is having, none better than this comment: “Thank you. You saved my life.”

A few months ago, Jody emailed to thank us for providing this platform. I emailed her back and asked for her phone number and called her. It was us that needed to be thanking her. We spoke about her experience since sharing her story and I was blown away. She has personally connected with more than 1,000 people over it. She checks in on 100 regularly because she doesn’t know if they have anyone else who does. She’s formed over 20 real friendships through it. And because she feels a real responsibility to help people, she got trained and became certified as a trauma coach.

I wish Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade had found Jody, or someone like her. I wish my cousin had, too. We lost him to suicide more than 20 years ago.  

The problem is getting much worse. Suicide rates are soaring. Check out this map The Washington Post just published if you want to really visualize it. We need to make it easier to ask for help, give help and receive help. We need people like Jody now more than ever.

Please read her story. She can teach us how to help a loved one who needs it:

Dear You. If you are reading this there is a small piece of you that wants to hold on…

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead image via Anthony Bourdain’s Facebook page.


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