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How Robin Williams' Death Could Help Others

August 12, 2014, 5:17 PM by Brittany Larson

How Robin Williams' Death Could Help Others

Behavioral Health experts say if there is anything positive resulting from Robin Williams' suicide it's that the incident opens the door for people to talk more openly about an issue that is often not talked about – depression. 

Williams' death will no doubt bring the issue of depression into the national spotlight. It's troubling for some to understand how one person could be loved by so many and yet still be hurting inside.

"It's all in here.  Everything can look good out here but if it doesn't feel good in here, than that contributes," Avera Behavioral Health counselor Jim Green said.

Green says it may not be possible to truly understand how someone could take their own life.

"As humans we want to know why and sometimes AA talks about surrendering, so you surrender to the disease," Green said.

Experts are also concerned all the attention to Williams' death could lead more people to consider the act. That's because studies show that suicide attempts often increase after a widely-publicized death. Counselors also often see suicides, by the same method as the celebrity, also increase.

"My hunch would be that those people are carrying some type of mental health issue before they even get to that point," Green said.

National Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI) of South Dakota Executive Director Phyliss Arends has lost two people to suicide.

“I had a good friend whose daughter was about 21 years old and took her own life. And that one in particular none of us saw it coming," Arends said.

She, like many people, are struggling with why someone would take their own life.

"She was a bubbly vivacious, you would think kind of like the Robin Williams personality, so obviously she was suffering very quietly inside," Arends said.

If you or someone you know expresses a desire to hurt themselves, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Suicide Warning Signs

SOURCE: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

o Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
o Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
o Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
o Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
o Talking about being a burden to others.
o Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
o Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
o Sleeping too little or too much.
o Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
o Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
o Displaying extreme mood swings.


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