Death of Kate Spade highlights epidemic of suicide in U.S. - CBS46 News

Death of Kate Spade highlights epidemic of suicide in U.S.

Posted: Updated:
Kate Spade Kate Spade
Blake Rice (Source: WGCL) Blake Rice (Source: WGCL)

The death of fashion designer Kate Spade is highlighting the epidemic of suicide in the U.S. as the rate of suicide across the country continues to rise.

Twice as many people in the U.S. die by suicide than by homicide. In 2016, 45,000 Americans took their own life. Suicide was the second-leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10-34.

The Centers for Disease Control calls it "a serious public health problem," and will release new numbers Friday.

We spoke to two men who are starting a suicide awareness foundation after a suicide changed their lives forever.

Blake Rice, 20, was on the cheer squad at Troy University. It’s where he met fellow cheerleader Chase Waters.

“We just became instant friends. His personality was just vibrant,” said Waters. “It is hard not having him around because of how much fun he was. When we go out, I just wish Blake was there.”

On May 21, 2017, Rice took his own life. His friends found him hanging in a closet.

“I didn’t believe it at all,” said Waters. “A person like Blake you would never expect.”

Waters says he didn't notice any warning signs but wishes he would have paid closer attention.

“I felt a little bit to blame for not being there,” said Waters.  

At Rice’s funeral, an unlikely friendship and partnership were formed as Waters met Rice’s cousin, Rickey Warren.

“People don't want to talk about it,” said Warren. “They just want to sweep it under the rug.”

Together they've formed the Chase and Ricky Foundation with to goal of preventing suicide and the deep pain felt by those left behind.

 “Anybody who commits suicide, it intimately affects 6-8 people,” said Warren. “It is hard, and it doesn’t go away. You learn to live with it but it doesn’t go away, really.”

On Friday, the head of the CDC will talk about suicide during a nation-wide news conference. The CDC is studying cases, trying to determine what can be done to prevent suicides. They say the goal of suicide prevention is to reduce factors that increase risk and increase factors that promote resilience.

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

Connect with CBS46