Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Kate Spade bipolar disorder

Yes, even someone as successful as Kate Spade can experience mental illness.

The death of the 55-year-old fashion designer Tuesday morning in her New York apartment was officially ruled a suicide by the city’s medical examiner’s office on Thursday. Some on social media this week have questioned how Spade, who seemingly had everything, could take her own life.

Spade’s husband Andy alleged that she suffered from severe depression. Mental illnesses are medical conditions. Just like diabetes and heart disease, they can affect anyone — regardless of their income or occupation.

“That (argument) doesn’t make any sense to me. That’s like saying someone’s really successful, I don’t know how she got cancer,” said psychiatrist Dr. Soroya Bacchus. “Mental disorders are an equal opportunity and have nothing do with success, education or where you grow up.”

Environment does play a role in triggering underlying mental illness, she said, but it doesn’t cause it. At the same time, it doesn’t prevent it

Kate Spade’s sister believes the iconic designer suffered from bipolar disease brought on by her “immense celebrity” — and that it went untreated for years because of “YES people” who did nothing to help.

Reta Saffo said that her 55-year-old sister suffered from debilitating depression for years and refused to get help, fearing how that’d look for her “happy-go-lucky” image.

In a statement to CBS New York, she added that her sister was, “surrounded by YES people for far too long, therefore she did not receive the proper care for what I believe to be (and tried numerous times to get help for) Bipolar disorder.”

Saffo believes the disorder could have been brought on by her sister’s “immense celebrity.”

“She never expected it — nor was she properly prepared for it,” she said. “Unfortunately, untreated, it finally took its toll on her.”

Spade took her own life by hanging herself in her Park Avenue apartment Tuesday. She left a suicide note addressed to her daughter, Frances Beatrix Spade, 13, telling her it wasn’t her fault.

According to CBS, the note also contained mentions of financial and marital issues.

The designer reportedly fell into a deep depression days before her suicide because her husband of 24 years, Andrew Spade, wanted a divorce, law enforcement sources told TMZ.

A source close to the family told People the Spades were “disgusted and saddened” by Saffo’s statements and that the sisters had been estranged for more than 10 years.

Mental illness is growing as a result of an increasingly hostile world – debt is mounting, relationships have become a ‘throw away commodity’, traffic jams, corruption…it’s not all gloom and doom but we all have our fair share of stress. Look after your mental health and you will be stronger and happier for it.

Mandy X