The death of Anthony Bourdain is being felt in Connecticut.
While thousands got to know him from his television show, hundreds here knew him on a more intimate level when he was a guest at the Connecticut Forum.
Locals say Bourdain was the influence for the food trucks at Bushnell Park in Hartford.
It was nine years ago when Bourdain spoke at the Connecticut Forum and for Ruth Cullen, it’s a night that’s still seared into her memory.
“He taught all of us how to be an American abroad, how to travel, explore, how to experience the world,” said Cullen.
His suicide death has people sharing their memories from that night.
“He was really inspiring to people for his writing, for his cooking, and for his travel,” Cullen said.
While Bourdain may be remembered most for his TV show, Cullen says his impact on the food scene will remain.
“There’s so much street food available, there’s so many food trucks and I think he can be credited for a lot of that,” said Cullen.
This week saw the sudden deaths of Bourdain and designer Kate Spade.
It’s now sparking the important discussion about mental health.
Experts say confronting the issues needs to be a priority.
Here in Connecticut, the suicide rate is the highest it’s been in nearly 30 years.
Nationally, the suicide rate has jumped by 25 percent in nearly 20 years.
“Anybody who is having suicidal thoughts and is feeling suicidal that somebody else, a friend or someone in the news killed themselves, that could be enough to tip them over,” said Dr. Hank Schwartz from Hartford Hospital.
While many are remembering Bourdain’s life, it’s very important to look around you.
Experts say be aware of what friends and family are going through, and talk about any changes in behavior.
They also say to look at yourself and make sure you’re ok too. Anyone seeking suicide prevention help can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.