Man with head in hands at table

Robin Williams death puts spotlight on depression, suicide

Mental health illnesses, like depression, affect millions - even those who seem happy and outwardly successful.

"The recent suicide of Robin Williams reminds us that we need to continue to raise awareness about mental illness," said Kimble Richardson, a licensed mental health counselor at Community Health Network.

Depression and bipolar disorder affect upwards of 19 million people in the United States each year, and about 100 Americans die from suicide per day. However, suicide can be prevented. Almost 90 percent of suicides are committed by individuals who suffer from treatable mental health illnesses.

According to Richardson, recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression is the first step to getting an individual the help they need.

"If feelings of sadness or grief persist for two or more weeks, or if any of the symptoms render an individual unable to function at work or in their personal life, this could indicate a medical condition called Major Depressive Disorder (also known as clinical depression)."

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Changes in appetite
  • Decreased concentration
  • Withdrawal from friends or family
  • Irritability
  • Sad or depressed mood
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Hopelessness
  • Irrational thoughts
  • Concurrent medical problems
  • Recklessness
  • Drug and/or alcohol use
  • Thoughts of suicide

Encourage friends or family members who may be suffering from these symptoms to seek help from a mental health professional and utilize resources like crisis hotlines.

"Many organizations have crisis hotlines if you, or someone you love, needs help immediately," said Richardson. "Our crisis line is available 24 hours a day. Please call us at 317-621-5700. A professional counselor will guide you to the appropriate resources and level of care." 

Community Behavioral Health Services

Community Health Network is Central Indiana's largest provider of behavioral health, with an extensive continuum of treatment options. Visit us online or call us at 317-621-5719 to learn more.