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Dealing with loss, as McCready was, also increases risk, especially around anniversaries.
Hirsch said mental health and addiction issues have to be taken as seriously as a heart attack.
"Depression and substance dependence are all very malignant disorders and I think people forget that," Hirsch said. "They think of cancer, strokes and heart attacks killing people, but depression, substance abuse and eating disorders, too, all kill people. There are very, very high rates of deaths in those illnesses."
Pinsky’s shows drew attention to the struggle. But did they help patients? Pinsky has taken an interest in cast members after the shows end and referred them to continuing treatment. But ultimately Hirsch wonders who was on call the last time McCready pondered killing herself.
"One of the key components of any treatment is to talk confidentially with your treatment provider about every aspect of what is going on with you, to be able to get the best care you can," she said. "I just don’t know how that could occur in the context of an internationally televised show. And so it would be difficult for me to envision it as a complete treatment program. ... It just really strikes me as entertainment and not as treatment."
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