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Robin Williams’ Suicide Brings Awareness to Mental Illness

Posted by on August 13, 2014 - 4 Comments
Robin Williams

Robin Williams

Believe it or not, mental illness IS a disability. It’s a mental health disability. But the recent suicide by beloved actor/comedian Robin Williams has cast a much-needed spotlight on the effects of this mental health disability and the sad stigma surrounding it. But when it affects your life to the point where you can’t get out of bed in the morning, it’s time to do something.

Williams had, at the time of his suicide, been battling severe depression. He also had a history of bipolar disorder (although it’s doubtful it had anything to do with his comedy style) and substance abuse, which he sometimes openly talked about in his stand-up routine.

Sadly, this mental health disability still retains an unfortunate stigma. Government statistics, as reported by The New Republic, state that in 2010, 60% of Americans with a mental health disability did not seek treatment. The reasons for this were both financial and otherwise, as they thought that they could not afford treatment and/or they could deal with it on their own.

The stigma of mental health disabilities, depression included, is that it has for the longest time, been seen as a weakness or character flaw instead of a medical condition. Saying things like “man up” can’t help someone when they’re constantly having suicidal thoughts. The sheer difficulty of treatment can be taxing in so many ways.

Part of the problem with treating mental health disabilities is the fact that a lot of Americans simply cannot get treatment for mental health disabilities. As mentioned in The New Republic article, too many Americans are not getting it. The third biggest factor in the poll state that many patients say they do not know where to go for mental health treatment. In Chicago, the city recently closed half of the city’s then twelve mental health clinics, and many who cannot afford treatment get it in Cook County Jail.

Already, we not only have a stigma, but a borderline-criminalization attached to mental illness. The thing about depression is that at times, no one can really tell what’s going on from the outside. A person can look fine, only when you dig deeper could they reveal their horrible battle with their own mind.

Thankfully, there are moves to fix things. Colorado has just opened their first crisis hotline in a statewide effort to erase the stigma and encourage people to get help. Called the Colorado Crisis and SUpport Hotline, it’s available for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be reached at 844-493-TALK (8255).

The World Health Organization (WHO) declares that mental health disability is a bigger problem in the United States ahead of heart disease and cancer. One in five Americans will deal with a mental health disability issue at some point this year. We hate to say this, but Robin Williams’s horrible suicide has brought a much-needed look into the state of our mental health disability treatment and awareness regime. Please, if you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disability, don’t waste anymore time. Get all the help you can get.

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About the Author:

This article was written by our Intern Paul.


Matthew says:
Aug 14, 2014

It is so sad that he pass way but I do not understand why. He had kids and a wife I think he did this what’s the best way for him. He had a chance to get better. I do not understand why movie actors do this to each one of them. It is no right to kill yourself .

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Aug 17, 2014

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Connor says:
Sep 13, 2014

Matthew he was diagnosed with a terminal illness and like many comedians battled with chronic depression. When depression turns into major depression or in the case of chronic depression “double depression” rational thought, self preservation, even faculties like proprioception work against you. Please be aware that at that point this becomes a very serious neuro chemical disease. Ones ability to choose is impaired as though they are massively drunk. Your body consistently believes you are under attack and overexcitedly pushes your pain receptors past ones threshold for pain resulting in aching and numbness and lack of energy akin to mono. Recent studies show the brain becomes inflamed. I believe it was Parkinson’s he was diagnosed with. That’s a rather lengthily drawn out death sentence. His mind likely convinced him that going through that would be to rough and draining on his loved ones and that it was best to save them the drawn out and expensive care that would be required to treat him. Not saying it’s right to make such a choice and I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m saying his brain and body worked against him and while his. Guard was down his demons overan him.

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Nov 30, 2018

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