Can one suicide lead to others?

The death of famed chef Anthony Bourdain, who apparently killed himself in a hotel room in France, caps a week of unnerving news about suicide.

Rates are climbing across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday — in some states, by as much as 30 percent since 1999.

Prevention remains an elusive goal. Just days earlier, Americans were stunned to learn the designer Kate Spade had hanged herself in her New York apartment.

The interior drama that turns self-destruction into an idea, then an attractive choice, and finally a necessary solution is rarely evident to survivors. We do not know what mix of impulses drove the designer and the chef to suicide.

Notes left behind, when they exist, can provide clues. Researchers have found few patterns in those missives, however, and little to predict behavior.