Today we mourn the loss of a celebrated artist, comedian, and actor. I first got to know Robin Williams through Mork & Mindy, a TV show that had you laughing nonstop for 30 minutes. I enjoyed the show so much that he became one of my favorite actors and I never missed any of his movies.
Unfortunately, Robin Williams struggled with depression, a diagnosable mental disorder, which is prevalent in the U.S. and worldwide. Some of the signs and symptoms include:
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Anger and irritability
- Loss of energy
- Sleep pattern changes
A serious symptom of depression is suicide. It’s the third leading cause of death among children and young adults ages 10 – 24. Men take their lives nearly four times the rate of women, accounting for 79% of suicides in the U.S. Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable disorder. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, express your concern and seek professional help immediately. Also, get support from family and friends, even if your friend asks you not to. It’s too serious to keep secret and you can’t keep your friend safe all on your own.
Sadly, there is still a stigma attached to depression and mental illness. Many associate it, however wrongly, as a sign of weakness and don’t seek help. Eighty percent of people that have symptoms of clinical depression are not receiving any specific treatment for their depression. In fact, for every 33 children in school, one child will have clinical depression.
We as a society need to step up and educate ourselves on this serious issue. It is only then that we can support, encourage and advocate on behalf of children and adults with depression and other mental health conditions.
If you or someone you know needs help please visit or call:
I agree wholeheartedly with Matt Damon, when he said Robin Williams “… was put on Earth to make people happy.”