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Mental Health Center

Celebrity Deaths May Trigger Suicide

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"Even a holiday or birthday can do it," says Thompson, a psychiatry professor at Thomas Jefferson Medical University in Philadelphia. "These are times when people reflect on their lives and ask whether they've gotten where they wanted to."

A person who is feeling depressed should seek care, Thompson stresses.

"If you feel down in the dumps -- not just for one day but for many days -- this should be viewed as a medical symptom, like a cough," he says. "See your doctor, and request a complete physical exam. Keep in mind that depression may be a sign of physical illness. A health care professional should review all your medications, since some medications may lead to depression."

In addition to your primary care physician, advice from a mental health professional can be very helpful, says Kisch. Check your health insurance card, which may have a 1-800 number for mental health services printed on the back.

However, when someone is really feeling suicidal, waiting for a professional appointment, even just for a day or two, may feel like a very long time, Kisch says. In that situation, reach out to someone -- a friend or family member -- for help.

"Suicide is very much an impulse of the moment, so anything you can do to create some postponement, some thinking process, will be helpful," Kisch tells WebMD. "What will work may vary from person to person, but anything that puts some pause between initial impulse and the action is a good idea. If you feel you are in real danger of harming yourself, go to a hospital emergency room."

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