Comedian's death sparks awareness for mental health
The tragic news of Robin Williamsâ?? death has brought attention to the ongoing battle against different behavioral health problems like depression and addiction.
Organizations that help those who suffer from these issues have said that there can be both positive and negative impacts from a tragedy like this.
According to Robin Williamsâ?? press agent, the 63-year-old actor had recently been suffering with his own battle of depression. Over the years, reports have also indicated that Williams had been dealing with addiction problems too.
Mental health leaders want to stress that there is help out there for those people who are suffering the same.
â??Thereâ??s other ways through troubles. Doesnâ??t have to be suicide,â?? said Third Level Crisis Centerâ??s Crisis Services Manager, Mickie Jannazzo. â??You donâ??t have to go the route that it looks like Robin Williams went.â??
Jannazzo says that when a prominent person dies through suicide, the tragedy can also be used as a way to heighten awareness about the struggles that some people face on a daily basis.
â??It provides numerous opportunities as a culture, locally, nationally, regionally to take a moment and look at the issues like mental health troubles, substance use disorders, and how we as a country address them,â?? said Jannazzo.
Third Level Crisis Center handles around 30,000 calls on their crisis line from 19 different counties in northern Michigan each year.
Jannazzo says that when things like this happen, officials say it can influence some people to call for help, but that it can also influence them in a negative way too.
â??It can make the notion of killing yourself more palatable,â?? said Jannazzo. â??Something that someone might find more willing to do.â??
And those are the people they want to reach out to.
But the battles donâ??t stop with depression.
According to Addiction Treatment Services depression and substance abuse can also go hand-in-hand.
According to ATS Executive Director Chris Hindbaugh, 80 percent of people who have an addictive disorder also struggle with depression. Hindbaugh says the reverse is true too; that many people who struggle with depression use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.
â??One hope that we have is that this highlights how important long term recovery is and long term strategies,â?? said Hindbaugh. â??Robin went 20 years in between episodes and then struggled for three years before getting into rehab and heâ??s really kind of struggled off and on since. But there is hope, but itâ??s a long term strategy. Itâ??s life long.â??
According to Third Level Crisis Center, some of the warning signs for people who might be having suicidal thoughts include giving away possessions, talking about death, looking for different methods to kill themselves, and filling out a will.
Officials say the most important thing that people can do is to ask those they are concerned about whether or not they are having these types of thoughts. If they are, people should get them help immediately.
Below are some recommendations from Third Level Crisis Center for reporting on suicide.
If you or someone you know is dealing with any of these struggles, you can contact the 24/7 Third Level Crisis Line at 800-442-7315 or the national hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
For services related to substance abuse or additions call Addiction Treatment Services at 800-622-4810.