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As we process the staggering news of Robin Williams’ tragic suicide, the scope of the public dialogue touches us all and reminds us that mental illness affects everyone.
According to his press representative, Williams battled major depression and alcohol and drug addiction throughout his life, and had spoken in interviews about both. In 2010, he spoke of his alcohol relapse after 20 years sober, saying, “I just thought, hey, maybe drinking will help…because I felt alone and afraid.”
His passing reminds us how isolating mental illness can be, but it doesn’ t have to be. Although there is still much to learn from research about mental illness and suicide, we know that education, support and intervention can save lives.
Learning the signs and treatment options about depression and other mental health conditions is a place to start, as is reaching out to a trusted friend or family member or listening and offering help and hope to someone in need. If you are or know someone who is struggling with depression or a mood disorder, you can contact the NAMI HelpLine at email@example.com or at (800) 850-NAMI for information and tips. And if you or someone you know is in a crisis, contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).
We extend a message of ‘rest in peace’ to Robin Williams and offer our deepest condolences to his family. His passing has given us a chance to reflect on his life, to reach out to one another, to talk about this and to remember how important it is that we keep trying to help one another.
Photo: Flickr, Eva Rinaldi