Local experts following high-profile suicides: 'Depression is manageable'

Anthony Bourdain/file photo

Local mental health experts are reassuring the public that depression is curable and manageable, following the high-profile suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain this week.

Experts at Providence Health and Services say mental health is like treating someone with diabetes. You are never cured, but you can manage the disease and its symptoms.

Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Robin Henderson with Providence watched Anthony Bourdain's cooking shows, including a recent trip to Singapore.

Bourdain was open about his mental health challenges and that gave Henderson hope he was getting effective treatment.

"In my mind I thought, 'Oh, he's talking about this. This is really good.' So [his death] was really surprising and yet, sadly, not," Dr. Henderson said. "You could hear the pain of different types of things in his voice, and we know that that pain is very treatable and very workable and very, very much something that we can all deal with and work through."

Sometimes it takes someone else noticing something's off about their friend or loved one.

"It's really hard to go to your friend or family member and say, 'I care about you, I think you're depressed and we need to get some help,'" she explained. "I think the message that's not getting through is treatment works. Depression is manageable."

Treatment worked for the Seattle Seahawks new wide receiver Brandon Marshall who was diagnosed in 2011 with a borderline personality disorder and now advocates for more openness about mental health issues.

Marshall and his wife set up a mental health advocacy organization called Project 375. Click here to learn more.

Several organizations have teamed up to offer mental health first-aid classes throughout the Portland metro area and across Oregon.

The classes will train you to become a first responder to an individual having an anxiety attack, showing signs of depression or suicidal thoughts. Click here for more information.

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