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16:15 PM

The Daily Beast: The Fallacy of Success and Happiness

In the wake of the suicides of chef Anthony Bourdain and designer Kate Spade, Waguih William IsHak, MD, professor of Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai, spoke with reporter Tanya Basu, senior science editor of The Daily Beast about why seemingly successful people would take their own lives.

IsHak told The Daily Beast that the glowing outward appearance of celebrity, creative and financial success, and a family—still can conceal real feelings of someone at risk of harming themselves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of people who commit suicide had mental health issues that were unknown to their closest friends and relatives. But, as Basu writes, “success and ‘having it all’ doesn’t mean happiness.”

IsHak told The Daily Beast that people who seem to be happy and prosperous often can be so adept at hiding their depression that even their closest friends and family can’t see past the practiced façade.

Sometimes, a deeply depressed person can seem at peace, but actually is experiencing inner relief because they have made up their mind to end their life.

“So many people don’t see it [suicide] coming because they [eventual victims] seem to be in such a good mood,” IsHak told The Daily Beast. “It’s a scary thing.”

More research needs to be done, but IsHak said there is no federally funded program primarily focused on preventing adult suicide—the population most at-risk for self-harm.

“Suicide research has not become a national priority, and it should,” IsHak told The Daily Beast. “It would open the door to using biomarkers and brain imaging to study people at risk of suicide.”

Click here to read The Daily Beast’s complete story. 

IsHak also was interviewed by Fox 11 Los Angeles for a story about how success does not innoculate anyone from severe depression.  "These are external factors that we all think are there and are protective, but in reality, you do not know what's inside," IsHak told Fox 11. Click here to watch the complete Fox 11 story.