I rarely break my format of reviewing restaurants and summarizing media reviews but the two articles in the New York Times and New Yorker this week have prompted me to seek to bring some science to this issue.
We do not know why Chef Benoît Violier killed himself this week but we do know that Bernard Loiseau killed himself 10 years ago while depressed and with a gun his wife had given him.
It sells publications to romanticize suicides among famous people, attributing them to pressure or losing a star or some other external reason. The truth is that most suicides are the result of mental illnesses, most frequently depression, and it is disappointing that two of the US's major media, the New York Times and New Yorker, have fallen into the trap of 1). making premature conclusions, pre-autopsy and 2). romanticizing suicide rather than appreciating its usual cause(s).
John A. Talbott MD
Past President American Psychiatric Association 1984-1985
Blogger John Talbott's Paris 2008-present