We struggle to comprehend the loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Sudden deaths are shocking. It's doubly shocking when the deaths are by suicide. Sudden suicide by people who seemingly have it all: That's a triple whammy.
Of course, as humans, we try to make sense of it all. We say depression and suicide can strike anyone. We cite U.S. statistics of a sharply rising toll of depression and suicide. We point out that what a person shows on the outside can mask deep pain on the inside.
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These explanations are true as far as they go. They just don't go very far. And they dodge the most nagging question: Shouldn't having great money, fame, and power insulate a person from severe depression?
As a psychologist who spent years researching the origins of the contemporary depression epidemic and writing a book on that topic, my answer is no. While money can summon therapists, fame can bring admirers, and power can remove many mundane hardships, none of these resources turn off the fundamental psychological drivers of depression in Western societies.