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Oklahoma representative talks publicly about struggle with depression

OKLAHOMA CITY – Following two high-profile suicides in the span of a few days, an Oklahoma representative is speaking out about his own battle with depression.

On Friday, the news spread about the suicide death of Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain’s death came days after fashion designer Kate Spade hanged herself in an apparent suicide Tuesday at her Manhattan apartment.

While many are mourning the loss of the two celebrities, an Oklahoma representative is hoping to bring attention to the importance of mental health by talking about his struggle with depression for the first time.

“Depression isn’t the same for everyone. But for me- and perhaps for Bourdain- it has meant feeling everything a little more. The highs; the lows. One thing is common: the stigma. I’m talking about mine for the first time publicly because we owe it to ourselves,” Rep. Forrest Bennett wrote on Facebook. “For so many, it’s manageable until it isn’t. For me, a quick series of close family deaths sent me over the edge and into a rut. Because I HAVE ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTHCARE, I was able to get help. The hardest thing was admitting to myself that I needed to.”

“Because a few of the people closes to me know, they check on me. Because I know, I check on myself. I stopped ignoring it and let me tell you, it was the most empowering thing I could’ve done. I’m okay. I’m no less capable because of it. The stigma is the worst part about it. There isn’t much you can do for people with depression, but one of the things you CAN do is the most powerful: help us destigmatize mental health #Talkaboutit if you have it, or love someone who does. Thanks for reading.”

According to research published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016,

“These findings are disturbing. Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the US right now, and it’s one of three causes that is actually increasing recently, so we do consider it a public health problem — and something that is all around us,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC said.

In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.