In light of the recent news of Robin Williams’s suicide, a dear friend of mine asked me the question; “How could we have helped Robin Williams?” Some will say there was no help for him. That he made a choice. Honestly I don’t view it that way; I know many would agree with me.
Robin Williams struggled with a mental illness, depression, for years. He didn’t wake one morning and proclaim his desire to be depressed and take his life. No, he probably woke up every morning and thought to himself why do I feel like this. How can I keep myself going? How can I be happy again? So many questions probably ran through his mind daily, yet he didn’t find those answers no matter how hard he tried.
Mental illness is not a choice. Many people put a label on someone who struggles with mental illness. We refuse to talk about it. We have a stigma. Many are quick to refrain from saying I sought help for my mental illness. Instead they would rather say they sought help for a drug addiction or alcohol problems.
When someone looses their battle to cancer they are thought of as courageous, brave, a fighter, gave it their all and thought to now be resting peacefully. When someone looses their battle with mental illness as dies by suicide it is often portrayed as weak, attention seeker, cowardly and other horrible views.
It is devastating to hear these negative comments related to the recent death of Robin Williams. He fought courageously for years. He was so strong to hold on as long as he did with the challenging battle he faced.
There are many people battling mental illness that are trying so hard seeking treatment but unfortunately medications and other forms of treatment do not work for them. Stigma needs to be diminished and people need access to help.
We could’ve helped Robin Williams. There is no doubt that this was preventable. Let's work together and act now creating the positive changes needed. Keep the conversation going. Let love win.
Don't fight in silence any longer!
To learn more about the signs of depression and suicide go to:
If you are worried that you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide, please call your local authorities (911), contact a mental health professional, or call and talk to someone at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).