It has been announced that the Kate Spade Foundation New York, will donate $1m dollars to suicide prevention and mental health awareness following the designer's death last month.

The Foundation aims to raise awareness and support for mental health and suicide prevention, encouraging people to feel safe in expressing how they feel. The brand has also pledged to set up a world mental health day for staff within the brand in corporate and regional offices. They believe this should prompt other organisations and institutions to encourage treatment for those in need.

In the past decade suicide deaths have been a talking point in the fashion industry, after both Alexander McQueen and L’Wren Scott took their own lives in the past 10 years. In 2015 there were 6,639 suicides in the UK and the republic of Ireland and the highest rate in the UK being male. 

Students are starting to have more of a significant effect on how institutions deal with mental health too. Bristol University is a prime example of these changes, investing £1 million for professionals to be there for those in need and forging links to other charities, to ensure students mental health is take care of. ‘Bristol is one of the UK’s top universities and also the site of a cluster of suicides, Mr Brady, a nephrologist recently told the Financial Times. “Suicide is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges affecting the education sector.” The question is what’s going to be done to tackle this, and how many tragedies does it take for some help to be put in place for students with immense pressure?

The stigma tied up with mental health is, thankfully, slowly diminishing due to the amount of awareness being spread as well as universities following in the footsteps of Kate Spade Foundation and offering a wider array of support and contact for young people, allowing young people to find help when necessary. 

As time progresses hopefully people will have more understanding of the seriousness of the topic instead of being blinded by the stigma but every small step towards this counts and helps create recognition. The question lies within our generation: how can we help? The best advice is to familiarise yourself with signs of mental health and to continue speaking about the topic, not allowing anyone to shy away.

Organisations such as Mind (https://www.mind.org.uk) provide an advice and help hotline as well as answering questions on there website. The samaritans provides help to people in emotional distress as well as providing a hotline (https://www.samaritans.org).

Image via Vogue.co.uk

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Written by Olivia Lower

BA Hons Year 1 Fashion Communication