Just as the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman had shone a spotlight on the growing heroin problem, the recent passing of the beloved comedy icon Robin Williams has led to an influx of depression-related content in the media. Robin Williams was not shy about sharing his experiences with substance abuse and depression; so it is appropriate that his passing might create an opportunity for people to better understand depression and other mental health disorders.
Robin Williams’ body was found in his home on Monday around noon, and he was declared dead soon after by apparent suicide. Assistant chief deputy coroner for Marin County, Calif., Lt. Keith Boyd, reported that Williams had recently sought treatment for depression.
It is reported that 100 people commit suicide every day in the United States. This alarming statistic further impresses depression as a serious issue, which is commonly misunderstood. The stigma surrounding depression leads many to believe that those suffering from depression should just be happier and less selfish. The truth is that depression is a mental health issue that requires treatment, support and understanding.
Despite achievements, wealth or social status, depression can exist in places one might not expect. For example, no one expects funny people to be depressed, but comedians are commonly dealing with demons and being funny is a mechanism used to cope with those issues.
Although Williams dealt with demons of his own, his extraordinary legacy is reflected online in the reverberation of condolences and memories of the comedy master, philanthropist and dear friend to many. “I hope it makes us all want to do something. While the whole country, and much of the world, feels this moment of sadness at his death, can we turn the loss of this artist we loved so much into something that pushes back against the ravages of despair?” wondered actor Alan Alda of his friend’s passing.