Anthony Bourdain's death hits local chefs hard; Crisis Centers prepares for surge in calls

Anthony Bourdain visited Seattle on an episode of his show "Parts Unkown" on CNN. (Photo: still image from "Parts Unknown.")

SEATTLE - From foodies to world travelers, reaction continues to pour in after Anthony Bourdain was found dead in his Paris hotel room Friday morning.

Bourdain was a jet setting, salty-tongued, chain-smoking chef of the highest order and also a vibrant story teller who hosted CNN's "Parts Unknown." One of the episodes was set right here in Seattle.

Friday, chefs across the city are remembering Bourdain.

Tom Douglas tweeted, "I will miss his virtuosity, slaying dragons with a smirk, a sentence, or a meal. I am brought to tears by the tears of my young team, at wits end, struggling to understand why their hero is so human."

“It's terrible it's as bad as it gets,” said Restaurateur Ethan Stowell.

On Bourdain's episode of “Parts Unknown” in Seattle, he stopped by Revel in to grab brunch. Owner Rachel Yang talked about that visit and what made Bourdain so special.

“Anthony Bourdain-- what's so incredible about him was the fact that he didn't go to the most famous places. He didn't just go to the popular, the main-stream places. He went to the place that people didn't want to go; he went to the places looked over. Often he was interested in what's different about this place,” said Yang.

Yang also said that since the beginning, Bourdain gave chefs a voice. They were no longer behind a wall, not seen. "He showed that cooks have feelings and are human beings,” said Yang.

Bourdain's death is the second high profile suicide just this week - with designer Kate Spade's death on Tuesday.

New numbers from the CDC show that suicide is on the rise in the U.S. It’s gone up 25 percent in the last two decades.

Meanwhile, the King County Crisis Center says it’s prepared for a surge of calls. News of Bourdain's death---striking a chord with so many people.

“I open my Facebook page this morning. It was the first thing I saw,” said Ursula Whiteside.

For the second time this week, a celebrity has taken their own life.

“What it is saying is that this is a universal experience. It is happening so frequently, that we have to do more work in this area,” said Whiteside.

Whiteside, a board member of King County Crisis Line, said she has personally grappled with the issue of suicide.

“I'm one of 10 million people in the United States who experiences suicidal thoughts every year,” said Whiteside. “As recently as a few years ago, I've had a feeling of being trapped in a situation.”

At the 24-hour Crisis Line in King County, 400 highly trained volunteers and clinical staff take are on hand. Many of them are also taking calls for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Last year they handled more than 119,000 calls for help.

Because of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain's deaths by suicide, more volunteers and staff are now standing by to help.

“There's help available. You don't have to this by yourself. You can talk to someone who can help you walk through this,” said Allie Franklin, Executive Director of King County Crisis Clinic.

Franklin said that volunteers and staff work with the caller to help them develop, “what’s a good safety plan when leave this phone call and really help you walk through crisis you are having in the momentbut also help to connect you with those resources to hopefully prevent tomorrow’s crisis.”

“It's in that moment when you feel so alone, that things are so hard,” said Whiteside.

Whiteside now does research in suicide prevention and works with patients. She offers these tips for anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts.

“Suicidal experiences will pass in under 24 hours. But most people don't know that,” said Whiteside.

She said there are three things that you can do:

“Make sure you make no decisions,” said Whiteside.

“Emotions are so intense. You really need to bring that arousal down. Taking a cold shower is one way that can really reset people's emotion,” said Whiteside.

“The other is to reach out and make eye contact with somebodyYou keep trying until you can find somebody you can make a connection with and you don't give up," she said.

If you suspect needs help, Franklin said talk to the person and ask them if they’ve had thoughts about suicide.

“Be the person that’s a connector, to help someone get connected to that support. You don’t have to be trained therapist or a professional to take the moment to reach out and help someone,” said Franklin.

The King County Crisis Line (1-866-4CRISIS) is available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is also there to help at 1-800-273-8255.

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