The passing of Robin Williams brings to light yet again the darkness of depression. A darkness that we see time and time again, but after a few days of sadness and remorse, and at times outrage, we let it slip back into the shadows. We do this even though in some city, in some town, on some farm or in some factory, any place across this country, there are people suffering the effects of depression. At the moment you are reading this, someone has decided the pain is too great, the darkness too dark, the options too few, and will be attempting to end his or her life. Depending upon the study you read, it is commonly accepted that one in six individuals suffers from depression.
Suicide is listed as the eighth leading cause of death in this country. However, it is not treated with nearly the same effort as other, less prevalent, and in some cases less devastating diseases. How many more family, friends, or public figures will be taken by this horrible disease before we stand up and cry out for something to be done? How many more must leave us before a champion emerges to lead us?
We applaud the unflagging efforts many of our agencies exhibit daily, working tirelessly to overcome the debilitating effects of behavioral health diseases. But they need help.
It is time to take the laughter Robin Williams gave us and tears he left us with to create hope and promise for those who linger in the darkness of depression. It is time we put the energy, time and dollars, into finding a way to keep the light on for those living in the darkness of depression. For more information and to see how you can get involved, I suggest the following resources:
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention www.afsp.org
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml
- Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) www.save.org