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At around 10:20 a.m. on June 5, 2018, fashion icon Kate Spade was found dead in her New York apartment.

She was 55 years old.

The Associated Press was early to report news of the legendary handbag designer's death. From the outside, she seemed to have it all: a husband/business partner, a 13-year-old daughter, and millions of dollars.


As is so often the case with suicide, however, this view from the outside didn't tell nearly the whole story.

​Kate Spade attends the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006. Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images for TFF.

As people paid tribute on social media, some started an important conversation about how we talk about suicide.

Let's face it: Talking about mental health and suicide is never easy. Between the stigma that surrounds it and the struggles some have to get the health care they need, it's easy to just let a lot of commonsense things go unsaid — which only increases the stigma.

On Twitter, a number of people stepped forward to break the silence around the topic.

Empathy was a common theme in many of these posts.

Others offered up a simple tip: Check in on family and friends who might feel vulnerable in the wake of this high profile news. A simple, "I just wanted to say hi and see how you're doing" can go a long way.

Another common theme was a reminder that depression isn't always easy to spot in others.

Even worse, some people feel too embarrassed to reach out when they need help, especially those who look outwardly successful. "Kate Spade was an entrepreneurial and artistic force, and all of us know that already," Anne T. Donahue wrote. "But what we don't tend to is what's going on behind the scenes."

Lots of people spoke up to remind those struggling that overcoming embarrassment in order to ask for help is really tough — and that's OK.

Journalist Ana Marie Cox shared the secrets to overcoming that: reminding yourself that you are loved and understanding when to ask for help. You're probably underestimating how many people in your life care deeply for you.

LGBTQ advocate Charlotte Clymer urged people to keep in mind how their words can affect others during times of tragedy. For example, this isn't the time or place to say things like, "Well, I didn't like her bags anyway." Resources like Reporting on Suicide are great for journalists as well as the rest of us.

Another crucial issue many are bringing up is the fact that suicide is a public health issue.

"Depression is a life threatening illness just like heart disease, cancer, or sepsis," tweeted Dr. Eugene Gu. "There should be no stigma about mental health — only treatment, awareness, and compassion."

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by these discussions, there's no shame in signing off the internet for the day. Take care of yourself. The world will still be here in the morning.

And if you find yourself in a crisis, there are many important resources worth keeping on hand, among them the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), the Crisis Text Line (text "HOME" to 741741), and the Trevor Project (866-488-7386).

If you're in a bad place, these organizations are there to help without judgment. There's no shame in calling them up.

Finally, if you know of a friend who is considering suicide, there are some simple things you can do to help them out.

Twitter user @erinscafe shared a great list that tackles the issue. "Be the lifeline they can grab onto if they need it."

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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Small actions lead to big movements.

Acts of kindness—we know they’re important not only for others, but for ourselves. They can contribute to a more positive community and help us feel more connected, happier even. But in our incessantly busy and hectic lives, performing good deeds can feel like an unattainable goal. Or perhaps we equate generosity with monetary contribution, which can feel like an impossible task depending on a person’s financial situation.

Perhaps surprisingly, the main reason people don’t offer more acts of kindness is the fear of being misunderstood. That is, at least, according to The Kindness Test—an online questionnaire about being nice to others that more than 60,000 people from 144 countries completed. It does make sense—having your good intentions be viewed as an awkward source of discomfort is not exactly fun for either party.

However, the results of The Kindness Test also indicated those fears were perhaps unfounded. The most common words people used were "happy," "grateful," "loved," "relieved" and "pleased" to describe their feelings after receiving kindness. Less than 1% of people said they felt embarrassed, according to the BBC.


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She's enjoying the big benefits of some simple life hacks.

James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.

"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”

His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.

Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.

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