We woke this morning to news that fashion designer Kate Spade tragically took her own life. Kate was 55 and is survived by husband and their 13-year-old daughter.

I, like so many am a true fan of the Kate Spade signature style of fun and quirky. I have gifted many of my friends with the classic polka dot champagne glasses. My accessories of choice include Kate Spade earrings and necklaces.  The first ever Kate Spade product I purchased was the owl handbag, a gift for my Mum. She doesn’t use it. I hope she will now.

Social media has been inundated with stories of women sharing the tales of their first Kate Spade bag purchases. Most of them to celebrate a milestone, usually the acquisition of a well-paying job. One woman tweeted that she stole a bag from a department store as a teenager. She was a poor kid in a rich school, and that bag became like her armour.

That’s the magic Kate Spade gave to so many. Her instantly recognisable and quirky styles represents not only a means of self-expression, but a token of success. An everyday reminder of ‘I did this’ – I graduated uni, I got the promotion, or even, in the case of the woman mentioned above, I too am good enough.

Please, share the story of your first Kate Spade in the comments section below.

It’s always hard to fathom when a life, so seemingly full and perfect ends this way. But there is opportunity for us all to reflect and reach out. Depression is not something to feel shame over, and it is not something any person needs to manage on their own.

We know that strata managers work intense hours in a demanding role and that the constant stress can take its toll. Australia suffers alarming rates of suicide, especially among men. It’s too easy for us to assume that the persona a person presents with everyday is how they are really feeling.

It’s ok to not be ok. And it is totally ok to ask for help. And if you suspect something is wrong with someone, reach out. In my own struggle with anxiety, when it has become so overwhelming I am unable to process even the simplest of thoughts without fear, it is my friends who pull me out.

Try to treat yourself with the same acceptance, love and care that you would your best friend.

Your GP can offer you fantastic assistance, including implementation of a mental health care plan, where you can access further professional services as required. It feels like a big step but getting the help you need is exactly the advice you would offer to a friend.

Immediate help is available through:

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Mensline – 1300 789 978

Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636

And my inbox is always open.

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